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The prospect of working all hours is becoming less attractive for todays up and coming lawyers. Firms are responding by looking at what they can do to accommodate the demands of 21st century working.
Mishcon de Reya is about to open discussions with all lawyers on flexible working hours. If the proposed scheme is given the green light lawyers on all levels will be able to choose how many hours they want to work annually.
This is likely to be split between three streams ranging from 800 to 2,000 hours, with a variation in between.
To put that into context, somebody working full time for 47 weeks of the year will complete 1,833 hours (including lunch breaks). On average lawyers are targeting 1,500 hours.
Mishcon lawyers opting to take the 2,000 hour contract will be those strongly committed to long hours.
Managing partner Kevin Gold said Mishcons lawyers want to take a more balanced approach to their work.
People are turning around and saying- I dont want to live like you guys, I dont want to be here day in day out and look like a big fat pig at your age and live your life and so we are looking at alternative methodologies of dealing with this, he said.
In addition, Gold said the firm had seen an increasing number of women coming up through the ranks and many deserving of partnership. However, a significant proportion of women are taking maternity leave, putting them at a disadvantage when it comes to applying for the privileged position.
How do you deal with the issues of partnership when people are judged equally but there is almost a disadvantage for those who have taken time out? Gold questioned.
Firms across the country are looking at what they can do to help lawyers lead a more fulfilled life by increasing flexible working hours.
It serves to highlight the demands put on some City lawyers. Recognising the hours its partners put in Slaughter and May has a concierge service on hand to do those domestic jobs- such as booking a holiday- which they have little time to do.