Firms should use technology to put an end to the ‘macho’ culture of ‘presenteeism’ that is damaging staff well-being, a senior partner at international firm Eversheds has said.  

‘The idea of being in the office at 8 in the morning and staying until 8 in the evening is very disruptive to family life and well-being,’ Cornelius Medvei (pictured), one of the Law Society’s City ambassadors, told the Gazette.

‘Sadly, the macho culture persists in some places.’

Medvei has been involved in creating a more flexible working environment at Eversheds, enabled by technology. The firm uses Citrix computer software to allow remote working through a virtual private network, which lets lawyers access their desktops and files remotely but securely.

It has also issued around 400 iPads to the majority of partners and senior associates.

‘We are moving to a culture that is more interested in what colleagues produce than where they produce it,’ Medvei said.

‘Before the rise of the internet, doing law in 1995 was not that different from doing law in 1885; in the sense that if you wanted to work on a matter, you had to go to your desk and have all your files in front of you.

‘I’d like to see that more flexible culture continue over the next five years. I’d like to have made a small contribution to increasing diversity and improving the way law firms look at what they want from their lawyers.’

Meanwhile, an initiative to tackle mental health problems caused by overwork in the City was launched last week. The City Mental Health Alliance is backed by magic circle firms Clifford Chance, Freshfields, Linklaters, and Slaughter and May.