Simmons & Simmons senior partner Janet Gaymer is pushing the firm to encourage partners to take up other jobs.
Gaymer, who has been senior partner since the summer, said that the move is not recession related, but a way of allowing partners to have more flexibility in their careers. Gaymer is putting together a proposal to go to the main board for a scheme she is calling 'Step Across'. The scheme will allow partners to step into another job for their own predetermined amount of time. "I want to give our partners a change of scene. Step Across is designed for people who in the course of their career may want to do something else," she said. Gaymer intends for the scheme to be wide enough for partners to try anything, from opening a restaurant to working in a zoo. "It will be up to the individual partner to decide what they want to do and for how long they want to do it," Gaymer said. She is also considering other radical methods of improving the work-life balance of Simmons' staff. Speaking at a Law Society conference, Gaymer ann-ounced that she was also considering buying hours from Simmons lawyers to enable them to work on a flexible basis. Gaymer said: "I am thinking of asking people to choose how many hours they give for the year. This is not set policy. I have had various musings on this and I think the way we treat the contracts of employment bears no relation to what the lawyers do. The lawyer is effectively selling hours to the employer anyway. Maybe our lawyers could tell us at the beginning of the year how many hours they would like to give, and we can pay them for those hours."