More City firms are heading down the flexitime route, with Herbert Smith poised to extend its part-time partner scheme and Kingsley Napley currently consulting on the issue.

A Herbert Smith spokeswoman confirms that a pilot scheme, launched in December 1998 when commercial litigation partner Susan Black began working on a three-day week basis, has been extended to include EC and competition partner Jill McGlennon.

And the firm is to decide this month whether to extend the scheme even further – possibly to include fee earners.

The spokeswoman says: “It's seemingly very successful. They are very flexible about the days they work. If a client wants them in on a Monday, they will be here and if they have a five-day court case they will work all week.

Kingsley Napley company commercial partner Tony Sacker, who has long advocated measures to make it easier for employees with young children to carry on working, says his firm has begun a consultative process on the issue with partners and other staff.

“Firms should examine how essential it is in all areas of work to expect people to work full time. Clearly there are some areas of practice where it is not necessary and sensible arrangements can be made,” he says.

See news analysis, page 12