I sat down with Law on a typical London morning (read: damp and gray) to find out how he has taken a stand against the corporate status quo by creating the most unconventional of companies.
Even in a dot-com world St. Luke's is unusual. The employee-owned company really is run by the employees, and everyone from the creative director to the receptionist has a say about the important stuff (like which clients to take on) and the not-so-important stuff (like which cappuc-cino maker to buy).
Rather than the typical hierarchical corporate structure, there are no bosses at St. Luke's. The trustees of the Qualifying Employee Share Ownership Trust (Quest) - a group of agency members voted upon each year by their peers - "manage" the organization. No one reports to Law or his partner, David Abraham; in fact, Law and Abraham report to the rest of the company.
And when employees become a part of St. Luke's, they do so with the understanding that their jobs can change if the trustees feel that their talents might be better served in a different position.
Ownership, feels Law, increases responsibility and breeds a high level of trust. It also, as the record shows, seems to breed loyalty. While a turnover rate at a typical ad agency is around 25 percent, since its inception, St. Luke's has had a turnover rate of just 10 percent.
Factor out those who left the company for personal reasons, such as to raise a child or change careers, and the turnover rate drops to just 1 percent.
But while employees at St. Luke's can lay claim to a part of the agency, they can't lay claim to an office. At their London headquarters, the site of a 19th-century toffee factory, the only designated offices belong to the clients. Each client has a room in the building, usually decked out in that account's advertising, which they can use for meetings when they visit the office, and which agency members can use for creative inspiration at other times.