Firm imposes 12-hour working days to widen appeal to clients

Manchester firm Slater Links has introduced 12-hour working shifts for solicitors at its Bury practice.

The office is now open from 9am to 9pm from Monday to Thursday.

Partner Bryan Slater said the firm had gone this route because “the old ethos of taking time off work to see your legal adviser has gone”.

He said: “We live in a 24-hour world, where much work is carried out on the telephone, such as banking. Already, accountants and estate agents are open late.

“No-one else is operating locally like Slater Links and we have not come across any other practice in the Greater Manchester area that does this either.”

He said it was “an indictment of the legal professional”, adding: “We would do well to examine ways to become more professional.”

Slater admitted the decision for extended hours had been hard, and that a smaller staff was working during the evenings.

“Our new arrangement reflects public insistence and the needs of commercial clients,” he said. “The legal profession is increasingly more competitive. But a lot of work never reaches solicitors, perhaps because we are not more approachable.”

The firm is currently using a rota system of fee earners with additional secretarial staff. But Slater Links said staff and fee earners will eventually be required to cope with the increased business.

Slater Links moved their headquarters to Bury a year ago while retaining an office at Radcliffe.

Slater said the firm is heavily involved in serious commercial litigation and has been under increasing pressure from clients to discuss business after normal hours. There was also a demand from the public to offer after-hours advice, he said.