Updated: Oct 28, 2020

I’m on a mission to ‘shout it from the rooftops’ when I see examples of fantastic people practices; and to ‘shine a spotlight’ on businesses who understand the true value of their people.

Take a look at who’s under the HELM spotlight this week.


My favourite kind of meeting involves spending an hour or so, preferably over a cuppa, discussing people, culture and performance. So, it was a real treat when, having admired the company for a number of years, I was able to do just that with Michael Burne, Founder and Chief Executive of Carbon Law Partners.

Carbon Law Partners have offices in Cardiff, Bristol & London and, having relocated their Cardiff office to the Creative Quarter in Morgan Arcade, are now tearing along with their expansion plans.

Not long into our conversation, I was struck by the fact that the company’s mission statement makes no reference whatsoever to any strategic commercial aim, that you might expect of a law firm. Instead, it reads as follows:-

“Our vision is to create and develop the conditions for exceptional people to flourish”.

So why is this? Why does the company have a vision which focuses on people?

Simply put, it’s because Carbon Law Partners firmly believe that it’s their people who ARE the business. Carbon take their responsibilities as an employer seriously; and are driven to ensure their people do in fact, flourish.

Listening to Michael, it’s obvious his vision for the company is not only crystal clear; it’s infectious. Partners, managers and employees readily support the vision, which is intrinsically linked to the values, culture and overall performance of the company.

With a huge emphasis on choosing the right people to work at Carbon, Michael explains a recruitment process which sees experience and academic achievement as just a small part of the overall equation. It’s the real person behind the qualifications, the character behind the titles, and the personality behind the experience which is important to Carbon and their team.

Getting exceptional people on board is critical to Carbon’s success. It therefore came as no surprise to me that Carbon are now in the enviable position of having such a strong employer brand; they are able to attract the best available talent.

The company Michael describes is certainly not static. In fact, it reminds me of a living, breathing, evolving molecule; where each additional member of staff or partner actually changes and strengthens its core structure; the very building blocks of Carbon, through their own qualities.

Working alongside Michael is Carbon’s Head of Talent, Linda Bridge; who is equally committed to the development and success of their team.  With a range of initiatives and practices supporting the company vision, Carbon are working hard to ensure their people are indeed, allowed to flourish.

Carbon Law Partners might be proud to be shaking up the world of law practice, but it’s the justifiable pride in their people and the value placed on them which permeates our discussion.

So, the coffees may have gone cold as our attention was held by conversation; but from Michael, there is a genuine warmth for the people under his guidance.

As for the relevance of Star Wars or Star Trek?

Well, it’s just a question Carbon have used in interview situations. There is no right or wrong answer but, the explanation behind an answer, provides a galaxy of information!!

For further information on Carbon Law Partners, their people and their Flourish programme, please go to

 If your own people practices deserve to be celebrated, please feel free to contact me at:
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