Peter Crush, 5 Aug 2015.
Move indicates shift towards better work-life balance in the sector.
Magic Circle law firm, Clifford Chance, has revealed it will be adopting an ‘agile working’ philosophy over the coming months.
The move is further evidence of a shift in the traditional law sector, which has been known for its long hours culture, towards creating a better work-life balance for employees to attract and retain key staff.
The announcement followed news that the firm would be leasing 400,000 square-feet of its 1 million square-foot office to Deutsche Bank, but without any reduction in jobs.
The idea is that the same number of staff will work in a smaller office environment, meaning more people will be working from home or doing more flexible hours.
In an interview with industry magazine, The Lawyer, managing partner David Bickerton said: “I welcome it when our people want to work flexibly. At the end of the day, what clients care about is whether they are getting the right service, regardless of where someone sits. So long as our teams can operate effectively, work is something you do rather than a place you go.”
It’s a significant move because if more major law firms are seen to be embracing agile working, other organisations who may not have thought it was possible could find the confidence to follow suit.
Clifford Chance’s announcement adds to a slow trickle of big law firms adopting more flexible working.
Last year, Simmons & Simmons announced flexible working would be ‘open for discussion’ at the recruitment stage and in 2014 Mischon De Reya also said it would let staff work flexibly.
Clifford Chance’s announcement could also improve its gender diversity targets, which have worsened in recent years.
Its UK partnership was 16 per cent female in 2013/14, but the previous year, it was 16.3 per cent. In 2009 it said it wanted to have 30 per cent female partners.
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