Hogan Lovells’ international management committee has introduced a 10-strong flexible working group, to be led by the firm’s co-head of corporate Andrew Skipper.
The committee, internally known as the agile working group, will review how the firm can promote flexible working as an “acceptable and positive” way of working.
Skipper told The Lawyer that, while the committee will be looking at how flexible working can have an impact on the progression of women in the office, it is not an issue that is confined to women. “Men also wish to work flexibly,” he said, adding that it is also something required by the firm’s clients.
“The increasing use of technology, the need for more efficiency and a new generation of lawyers entering the workforce with an expectation of a better work-life balance are all factors which are having an impact on the way we work,” Skipper told The Lawyer. “For us agile working is about utilising the benefits gained from changing work practices, deploying new technologies and providing better value to our clients.”
The final group will comprise “at least 10 partners and senior business service professionals” from across the firm, though it is not yet clear when these names will be announced. Sources say the committee will meet once a month.
The decision follows the recent revamp of Hogan Lovells’ management board, which introduced a new ‘45 and under’ seat and voted graduate recruitment partner Ben Higson into the role (17 April 2014). According to a recent Eversheds survey, over a third of lawyers aged between 23 and 40 said flexible working was “crucial” to their future (28 April 2014).
A number of firms, one of the most recent including Pinsent Masons (4 March 2014), are looking at boosting access to flexible working, altering parental leave arrangements and organising gender training in a bid to increase female partner numbers.