A&O introduces partner flexi-time to improve female retention

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  • well done A&O. This is a massive step ahead and other firms should be looking at this as an example. We are now living in very different times and one size certainly doesn't fit all.

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  • I wish I worked for a firm like that. However, as a non-partner, I do hope they also apply the same principles to other levels of staff.

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  • Err, isn't 4 days 80% of 5 days?

    So either you cap at 40 points (80% of 50); or you cap at 20 + 80% of 30 = 44 points.

    Either way the Old Boys still control the ship at A&O. And that's a shame...

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  • How many female partners do A&O have? Is it a lot less than the rest of the magic circle?

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  • 60% of the parts for MINIMUM 80% of the commitment. Pretty clear who gets the better deal there, and it's not the women (or other?) partners who take up the option. Not sure how many people that is going to fool...

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  • Unfortunately the article does not explain the policy properly leading some misunderstanding in the comments. My understanding is that female partners will have the option of working 80% of normal working hours (either 4/5 days or with increased holiday) and will receive 80% of normal equity points, subject to a maximum overall cap of 30 equity points in total. In other words, if you are to progress through the ladder beyond 30 points then you need to return to full time work. If this is correct then the "best" approach would seem to be to have the kids as soon as you get made up so they are at school by the time you want to return to work full time!

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  • Frankly, I'm surprised A&O are shouting this from the rooftops as they are.
    It might be good news for female partners, but other firms have been doing this for a long time without seeing the need to trumpet it in the press like this

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  • Is this new? Looks like A&O are trying to make themselves out to be revolutionary when actually they're copying something that a lot of firms have been doing for a long time. I know my firm introduced flexi-working for partners about 10 years ago.

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  • This is fantastic news. As a female associate who wants both a family and a successful career I think most men don't realise how hard it is to make it in this profession.

    This kind of initiative is exactly what I am looking for when considering my next move. I just wish it was the norm rather than the exception.

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  • Do you really expect clients to respect that their female partner is not working on Tuesdays or another day for that matter when they need to get advice? Of course not. They expect you to be at the end of the blackberry regardless. This will simply see women being paid less to do the same amount of work. As an earlier poster mentions, the only element who benefits in this is the firm which cuts its overall staff costs while parading itself as "female-friendly." What complete tosh.

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  • I think some of these comments are misguided. Many women I know (and plenty of men) are driven out of the profession due to an inflexible approach from their employers. As a result these individuals miss out on a promising career and their managers are stripped of some brilliant, well-trained staff. Plus they have to invest in bringing other less able people up to speed or in recruiting.
    This is driven not by malice or sexism but a failure to think in depth about the issues. Firms like A&O (and it is clearly not just A&O) that attempt to engage with these issues and think through a long-term solution should be applauded.

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  • This is not going to change things one little bit. The real problem is structural and relates to capitalist society's over-reliance on unpaid female domestic labour and child-rearing. Until men either GENUINELY take 50 per cent of the responsibility for these activities or appropriately reward women for doing them then we will continue to go round in circles.

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  • Most firms (including A&O) will have an assortment of informal arrangements. You have to applaud the attempt to formalise a policy that balances the flexibility for the individual with the needs of a firm.
    The problem in a partnership is that any individual who doesn't contribute fully is essentially leeching the partnership as a whole, so there is a persistent view that part time partners don't contribute fully. By clearly stating that this is not intended to be a permanent arrangement (hence the cap) and by discounting the remuneration rates A&O have made a realistic attempt at a sustainable balance.
    To the individual ad the firm there's a cost and a benefit - make your decision. Sounds good to me.

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  • I agree that the fact this story is deemed to be newsworthy is a relection of the state of the profession. I work 4 days and do one of those days at home. My firm has been very supportive since my return from maternity leave. Firms will have to be more flexible and imaginative about working practices otherwise they will lose female staff. We have a lot to learn from our clients in the technology sectors where home working and hot desking is the norm, and not just for working mothers. But (and it is a big but) you do have to be available if necessary on your non working day. Reading emails and taking calls is unfortunately just what is expected, and client's attitudes are not going to change when they are paying our sort of rates.

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