Freshfields creates alumni pool for overflow work

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is set to tap into its network of alumni to handle an anticipated upturn in work levels later this year.

The scheme, already given the working title of ’Fresh Work’, is aimed at former fee-earners at the magic circle firm who might be available to work either part-time or on a short-term basis during busy periods.

Freshfields London managing partner Tim Jones, one of the masterminds behind the initiative, explained that the uncertainty over the rate of recovery was one of the main drivers behind the idea.

“We didn’t want to increase our core gearing of around 3:1,” he said. “But there’ll be times when the pressure comes on and we have to deal with peaks in demand. One way of doing that is to take people on short-term contracts, but we need to be sure to get good people. We want to guarantee quality, and if we know these people already that’s an easy way to tick that box.”

The scheme, which is expected to be launched in the autumn, will target ­former associates who left the firm due to family or other commitments.

“Flexibility will be the key to this,” added Jones. “It might be for people who want to work for the school term and be off for holidays.”

Freshfields hopes to use its alumni network to find suitable candidates for the initiative.

The firm relaunched the network along with a social networking portal for ­alumni last December (The Lawyer, 7 December 2009), since which time around 4,500 former employees have signed up.