Certain legal work is inherently incompatible with flexible working. For example, parties to most commercial construction contracts are statutorily entitled to have their disputes resolved by adjudication. The process requires a decision within 28 days. In that circumscribed timetable, a party may receive a submission on a Tuesday and be bound to respond by the Thursday. It is the nature of this expedited process that one solicitor needs to be responsible for all submissions – the case could not be taken over by another solicitor instantaneously, and having one solicitor shadow another throughout the process would be so inefficient as to be impracticable. So, if that solicitor does not work Wednesdays, the client is unrepresented.
These are the kinds of practicable difficulties that the European Court of Human Rights must acknowledge before considering the imposition of its fashionable agenda on solicitors’ firms.
As for the ‘gender’ (presumably ‘sex’ is intended) of employees, my one partner is female, as are two-thirds of the full-time fee-earners engaged in construction disputes, so I do not recognise the disparity to which Mr Bisnought refers.
Dr Julian Critchlow, Senior partner, Al Bawardi Critchlow, London EC4