Three-quarters of top UK firms are flexible-friendly

More than three-quarters of the UK’s top 50 law firms have introduced flexible working, while almost half now offer an alternative career path, The Lawyer’s exclusive research can reveal.

Regional-based firm Mills & Reeve saw the highest take-up of flexible working, with 153 of its 407 fee-earners having left the traditional nine-to-five day behind. This is the equivalent of 38 per cent of the firm’s workforce.

The firm is one of seven national law firms that have a high level of fee-earners taking up the opportunity to work flexibly. Others include Beachcroft, Cobbetts and Eversheds, which ranked eighth, fourth and third respectively in the overall table.

Magic circle firm Linklaters had the second-highest number of flexible workers, with 150 fee-earners taking advantage of the scheme globally. Proportionally, however, this equates to less than 1 per cent of its overall fee-earning workforce, which is in excess of 2,000 worldwide.

In relation to alternative career paths, 23 of the top 50 law firms are now offering a variety of options as alternatives to partnership.

Barlow Lyde & Gilbert, for instance, this year created a new management level of associate director – a role that sits between associate and partner, as first reported on www.thelawyer.com (21 June).