Norton Rose moots four-day week to save jobs

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  • -

    Is this in addition to or instead of redundancies?

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  • likely story

    sounds like a clever way of getting people to do the same amount of work for less money...

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  • -

    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?

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  • 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?


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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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!

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  • 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?

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  • 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?

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  • 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?

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  • Tumbleweed

    I bet everyone picks their day off to be a Monday or a Friday!

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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?

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  • 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...

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  • 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 ?

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  • 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.

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