Freshfields’ flexibility heads off job losses

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has introduced a range of flexible working options for its support staff as it strives to avoid making redundancies.

While its magic circle rivals Allen & Overy, ­Clifford Chance and Linklaters have all embarked on restructurings that will result in widespread job losses, Freshfields has so far not made any significant job cuts.

The firm has introduced job sharing and sabbaticals, mainly for its secretarial staff, in a bid to keep all its staff on board amid an ongoing period of lower work levels.

A partner at the firm said: “We’ve been able to be nimble and redeploy staff so far, but the reality is that our business is geared for a certain level of activity that doesn’t exist at the moment.

“We don’t want to make cuts and looking at ­different options helps us avoid redundancies.”

Freshfields has cut just four associate jobs since the credit crisis began, with the group leaving the real estate practice last summer.