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SJ Berwin has put associate development at the centre of its strategy for the next financial year after ending its flexible working scheme and initiating a plan whereby junior assessment recognises non-billable hours.
Around 80 per cent of associates at the City firm, mainly those in the transactional parts of the business, have been working flexible hours since last summer.
In some practice areas, such as real estate and finance, this involved putting associates on nine-day fortnights. In the corporate department associates were encouraged to take sabbaticals or unpaid leave.
Although every practice area will assess independently whether the time is right to end flexible working, it is understood that the scheme will be wound up firmwide at the end of April.
Meanwhile, the firm is rubber-stamping plans drawn up by its associate solicitor forum to recognise work undertaken outside of billable hours.
The ’professional investment time plan’ will formalise the way associates are assessed by partners, allowing for the recognition of business development work that is not directly transactional.