Changes in technology and a greater use of flexible working are influencing solicitors’ work patterns, according to a survey of 3,400 Scottish solicitors published today.

The Law Society of Scotland’s third equality profile of its solicitor members examines flexible working in the profession for the first time as well as equal pay, career aspirations and discrimination.

Research into the profession north of the border shows that the vast majority of respondents worked full time (77%). However, there has been an increase in the proportion working amended hours (23%) and the sub-set of this group (17% of the overall profession) now working part time.

Almost two-thirds were permitted to work away from the office, although just a quarter of respondents did so at least once a week. More male solicitors than females were permitted to work from home (69% male, 56% female) or remotely (66% males compared with 51% female). 

Janet Hood, convener of the Law Society of Scotland’s equality and diversity committee, said: ‘Technological advances have made flexible working a more feasible option for many of us and today’s findings show it is it is available to most within the legal profession, although more widely used by solicitors at a senior level. 

‘It will be interesting to monitor this to find out if flexible working increases across a wider proportion of the profession in the next few years.’

Over two-thirds of those with access to remote working do not access emails or work files out of hours, but of those who do, 44% do in the evening, 34% at weekends and 22% during annual leave, the study found.

The findings show more women are prevalent in the £15,000 to £45,000 salary bracket, while men are more prevalent in the £65,000 to £150,000 bracket.

Women are also more likely to be trainees, assistants, associates and solicitor team members while men more likely to be equity partners, consultants or directors.