Norton Rose moots four-day week to save jobs By The Lawyer 12 March 2009 17:02 13 December 2015 15:28 Sign in or register to continue reading. It's FREE Sign in Email Password Keep me logged in Forgot your password? Not registered? It's FREE! Register now Register with The Lawyer BlatantAbuse 12 March 2009 at 17:17 – Is this in addition to or instead of redundancies? Reply Link Anonymous 12 March 2009 at 17:41 likely story sounds like a clever way of getting people to do the same amount of work for less money… Reply Link clare 12 March 2009 at 20:29 – An interesting approach. They promised they would not make redundancies. The quid pro quo is that everyone goes part time. So what happens to the partners? Reply Link Mercuryman 13 March 2009 at 09:43 Norton Rose This is a really good idea. Most lawyers are already working the equivalent of 4 days or less in terms of hours. Norton Rose seem to facing up to this and avoiding mass layoffs into the bargain. Will other firms follow suit? Reply Link Anonymous 13 March 2009 at 09:55 Good idea i disagree with the poster below – I would be sceptical about working a four day week in a bull market because you would just get paid less for doing the same amount of work. But it sounds as though there’s barely enough work around to keep people busy for four days. Reply Link Anonymous 13 March 2009 at 10:17 Sorry state of affairs With every news announcement, Norton Rose is becoming more and more of a worrysome firm. I feel they’re not letting on the true state of their financial position. Reply Link Mary 13 March 2009 at 10:18 Good idea In general terms this is a good idea – obviously it’s great to be able to save jobs by everyone taking a hit. And it’s not like they can’t afford a bit of a pay cut anyway. The worrying thing is that most firms will be using their redundancies to get rid of some of their dead weight – let’s face it all firms are carrying a lot of people who perhaps don’t contribute as much as they should. While NR is being very magnanimous by saving everyone’s jobs – and will undoubtedly be remembered as such – they could slightly be shooting themselves in the foot by not taking the opportunity to streamline its ranks. Reply Link Anonymous 13 March 2009 at 10:19 Hard work The firm is still going to expect people to produce the same quality and quantity of work but in less time. There will be a great deal of people working on the day they are supposed to have off in a bid to keep up to date with the volume of work. Reply Link Greggs 13 March 2009 at 10:24 Part(y) time What happens to equity partners’ drawings? Easy enough to knock 15 per cent of a monthly salary but what about a profit share? Equity partners could end up working four days a week and getting paid roughly the same amount as they would on five. Sounds like a decent deal. Reply Link Anonymous 13 March 2009 at 10:24 Cynical Proposition Rrather than offering these pay cuts/sabaticals why can’t those at the top of the equity ladder inject more to allow the firm to weather the storm? I appreciate that this may be a necessary evil but where will it stop? Many City firms are failiing to see the bigger picture, exploiting conditions and employee (vulnerabilities) terms does not bode well for the long term, if and when the market picks up the tidal wave of power may shift, how will firms like the boot on the other foot! Reply Link Anonymous 13 March 2009 at 10:26 Cahs injection? I wander whether clients would be happy to know that their lawyers are on a four-day week? In the current market when we all seem to at risk of loosing our jobs perhaps it is time for lawyers to start putting some of their own money back into the partnership. Is a small cash injection really that terrible for equity lawyers on six figure salaries? Would this be preferable to making hundreds redundant? Or is it, as Mary suggests below, an opportunity toget rid of some dead wood? Reply Link Mercuryman 13 March 2009 at 10:29 Norton Rose Mary, agreed – i should have said that stream-lining their ranks is a prerequisite. I’ve never worked at Norton Rose but I’m willing to bet that there are some duds working there alongside the high-flyers, and what would the latter say if the duds get to scive off? Reply Link Joe 13 March 2009 at 11:53 4 days Norton Rose haven’t made redundancies yet, have they? Is this instead of redundancies or will there be some on top of this? Reply Link anon 13 March 2009 at 12:05 Tumbleweed I bet everyone picks their day off to be a Monday or a Friday! Reply Link BlatantAbuse 13 March 2009 at 12:47 Duds and suds If people are such ‘duds’ or ‘dead wood’ why were they recruited in the first place? There’s no doubt that some firms are carrying dead weight but questions need to be asked about how they were recruited in the first place or whether there is sufficient monitoring of all staff members’ performance. Hopefully the four day week option will mean no redundancies if possible and it’s good to see a firm that’s willing to consider other options, I doubt many would prefer the redundancy option. Reply Link Anon 13 March 2009 at 13:54 Must Accept I think it’s commendable that the firm are proactively addressing the climate and in consultation with their staff members. The alternative, as has been illustrated by most of the other city firm’s, is simply a round of redundancies. I also dont feel this a masked strategy to get the same work for less money. Most in the profession would agree that there is simply a bit less work going on. Reply Link Anonymous 13 March 2009 at 14:24 Paving the way What happens if those people who are part-time are not instructed because they are part-time? In such a case, part-timers will have even less to do. Will they then be made redundant as they may be seen as being surplus to requirements? Reply Link Anonymous 13 March 2009 at 14:32 Touch of naivety here? To BlatantAbuse and others who think this is noble move by NR to avoid redundancy, may I offer an unwelcome dose of accountant’s cynicism? Think for a moment on the benefits that would accrue to partners in a firm (KPMG/NR/whoever) that moves a majority of the workforce onto a 4-day week, with no guarantee of future employment, and then instigates a redundancy round at a later date when employees’ severance packages will be based around a 20% lower remuneration level… Reply Link Black Prince 13 March 2009 at 15:04 Norton Rose Boat at the Mipim Perhaps they can have some holidays on hudge and luxous Norton Rose yacht seen this week at the Mipim ? Reply Link Anonymous 13 March 2009 at 15:13 Realism NR are taking the same business view as many non-partnership organizations so I don’t think they are doing more than simply reducing staff costs by 20% – & I’m very sure that people reluctantly consider it better than redundancy. (Reduced redundancy costs would be an additional bonus to NR but I doubt a factor of the original thinking of any but the most callous of employers.) If they (like almost every other law firm in some part of their business) aren’t billing as they were then what do you expect to happen – they’re not exactly a small family firm where the owners can’t sleep knowing that the staff who they meet everyday in the local village are suffering? On a slightly different issue, if any legal staff are being cherry-picked for redundancy on the basis of an inability to spell (& we’re non talking about accidental typo’s) then a good percentage of this ‘comments’ thread should be looking over their shoulders. Reply Link Norton Rose supporter 13 March 2009 at 15:13 Great place to work Norton Rose has done it again – as a former employee I know that the firm is a good employer which cares for its people. The plan to protect staff as far as possible from the impact of the current situation is just what I would expect the firm to do. Who cares if it the plan mirrors that of KPMG – better to mirror KPMG than some of the so called magic circle – no longer magic if you happen to work for one of them and be on the list for redundancy!!! Reply Link Dilbert 13 March 2009 at 16:21 Prediction Judging from the experiences of other 4-day week’ers: – everyone will of course ask for Friday/Mondays off; – NR will then announce they can’t accommodate that, and as it’s not fair to give some people Friday/Mondays off consistently, everyone will get a different day off every week; – this will make it much harder for those affected to do anything constructive (e.g. other part-time job or volunteering) with their day off; – depending on how NR play it, fee-earners may still be expected to pick up emails/join concalls on their day off; – this in turn will cause a huge amount of resentment since this is actually worse than have to work while you’re meant to be on holiday, as at least you’re still getting paid while you’re on holiday… Reply Link Anonymous 13 March 2009 at 17:15 Old hand As a former employee of Norton Rose who left in the early 1980s, in earlier recessions there were culls of middle and senior partners who were clearly being carried. The Firm recognised the commercial advantages in having a private client or trust department which was not effected by the economic situation which brought in good revenue in good times and bad Reply Link A current NR employee 14 March 2009 at 01:25 Good idea Just to clarify slightly (from an insider’s view) – it has been made very clear that this is only a contingency plan, which means from 1 May 2009, if things continue to be slow (very likely), people will then be asked to work 4 days or go on long breaks, but not before at least 70 to 80% of the staff would sign up and agree to it. I mean honestly, in this current state of affairs, how can anyone complain about this? I just think we’re all a bit spoilt – just ask our parents or grandparents and they would have plenty of stories to tell about how they were royally shafted then their employers went through recession. FYI I’m a current employee with NR and I’m not a partner or HR trying to defend the “brand” – I just wish the cynics out there will think a bit harder before they start knocking us or comparing us with other “magic” firms who cut people just to shamelessly keep the PEP. Reply Link Anonymous 14 March 2009 at 11:28 Appreciate, not commiserate I am an employee of the great firm that is Norton Rose, and after seeing what is happening at other firms and businesses globally, I think the level of scepticism and suspicion of NR’s intentions is shameful. Here is a great firm, who true to form, are putting their employees first. They are not finding a way to make you work the same hours for less money, or expect you to take con calls on your day off. The work is simply not there and you’d have to have been on an expedition to the North Pole over the last two years to not understand that. At least the firm has flexibility and are positioning themselves strategically for the up-turn. I understand there are concerns, but surely the alternative cannot be regarded as a better option. All my support and appreciation to the NR way. Reply Link AKA Bernie Madhoff 15 March 2009 at 15:22 Bright side of life Workloads will decrease depending on what areas the company has invested. Ie Banking and Real Estate is taking a downturn, aswell as with Corporate (Mergers and Aquisitions). Decreased workload = Decreased Profit. NR is just looking at the balance sheets and keeping talent, there will be a brighter outlook in 8 months time , all depends on the turnaround of the banking sector. Reply Link Anonymous 17 March 2009 at 08:18 Contrast with Simmons This looks to be a positive approach balancing the interests of profits and employees. I say well done to NR for taking an imaginative lead. Contrast with Simmons & Simmons as a similar firm. This firm has axed many employees and is reverting to type as one of the more unpleasant city firms. I know which firm I would rather work for once the upturn arrives. Reply Link Name Email Cancel reply Threaded commenting powered by interconnect/it code.