K&L Gates to pay for staff to join ‘Olympic army’

K&L Gates lawyers or staff members who successfully apply to become Olympic volunteers will be allowed to take time of work, with the firm footing the bill for their hours.

The London office of the US-headquartered firm confirmed in an internal email last week that it is launching an initiative that would see it pay for the total of nine days required by its lawyers or staff for training and the games themselves.

The scheme is the brainchild of real estate professional support lawyer Bonny Hedderly. The firm says it is a direct response to the call made last month by London mayor Boris Johnson to raise “an Olympic army”.

Tina Two, K&L Gates’ UK director of legal personnel, development and diversity said there had been a “tremendous” response so far to the firm’s Olympic initiative.

“This is a one-off,” added Two. “If we can’t do this for our people then the firm really has to think about how it engages with its staff.”

Applications to become one of the expected 8,000 London volunteers for the games began two weeks ago via an online application.

Anyone registering will be sent a formal application form in January 2011 with interviews to follow next summer. Those selected will be required to commit to participate for six consecutive days between 27 July and the beginning of September 2012 plus three days for the required training.