Magic circle firm Slaughter and May is trialling a series of part-time working schemes for associates, as the City prepares to return to the office next week.

Solicitors at Slaughter and May will have the option to cut their hours by up to 20% and take predetermined blocks of leave to align with, for example, the school holidays. Under the ‘switch on/off’ scheme – which is not limited to parents – lawyers will work five days a week in between their periods of holiday.

Under a second part-time programme, solicitors will be allowed to cut their hours by up to 20% and take unpaid periods of holiday between large transactions, on top of their annual leave allowance. However, associates will commit to working end to end for the duration of a transaction or a number of transactions.

Slaughter & May

Associates at Slaughter and May have the opportunity to organise their work around school holidays

Source: Darren Filkins

Finally, associates will be allowed to arrange job shares, with two solicitors working together to cover one role. Each associate will be expected to come in three days a week – with one day of overlap – and pairings can consist of lawyers with the same level of experience, or a junior and a senior associate.

Life in the City is expected to look very different in the wake of the pandemic, with a host of firms embracing flexible working. Linklaters has announced that staff will be allowed to work from home for up to half of the week, a position that has been echoed by the likes of Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Taylor Wessing and Norton Rose Fulbright.

Meanwhile, Mishcon de Reya and Irwin Mitchell have told their staff they are free to work where and when they like, provided clients’ needs are catered for. However, other firms will expect staff to physically attend the office at least three times a week, with trainees allowed a maximum of one day at home.