Associates at magic circle firm Linklaters are yet to see the appeal of an initiative that allows them to take a pay cut in return for reduced working hours, figures have shown.

So far nine associates have agreed to work under the ‘yourlink’ model, currently available only to German lawyers. It means more than 90% of the firm’s 137 associates across the firm’s four German offices are yet to sign up to the scheme, set up six months ago.

Thomas Schmidt, chief operating officer for Linklaters in Germany, said he expected 10% to 20% of German associates to switch to the scheme eventually.

Linklaters insists it is happy with the figures and that there is no timeline under which it expects associates to sign up to the scheme.

Associates on yourlink do not work more than 40-hours per week. In return, first year associates are paid €80,000 (£71,500), compared with €120,000 (£107,000) for those on the standard package. Pay increases thereafter are flatter than those on the standard scheme. Bonuses are also reduced. 

People on the scheme can progress to the level of counsel but not partner.

The scheme is being tested in Germany but could be implemented in the UK, as well as other jurisdictions.

The Gazette understands that the proposals are not intended as a cost-saving measure but stem from the firm’s desire to give the firm an advantage in the recruitment market.

Of the nine lawyers to take up the offer, five are new hires while the rest have switched from the firm’s traditional career path.