Chloe Matthews
Chloe Matthews
Senior Associate: Private Practice

Articles From the Team

Should I ask for flexible working?

In 2014, the government introduced the Flexible Working Regulations 2014, which provide every employee within England and Wales the right to request flexible working arrangements. But fast forward to 2018 – how’s the legislation being interpreted and applied within the profession?

Is flexible working common within the legal profession?

As a specialist legal recruiter, I focus on placing lawyers into private practice roles in Birmingham, and flexible and agile working is something I speak to both candidates (and clients) about on a daily basis. Most lawyers will admit the profession’s been slow to embrace modern technologies, so is it the same story re flexible working?

I’m happy to report this isn’t the case. Not only has the legal profession recognised its legal obligations (you’d hope so!), many firms are taking it that step further by introducing agile working across its entire workforce.

Benefits of flexible working

So what are the benefits? Modern business recognises that flexible working increases productivity and employee morale, which enables businesses to retain and develop talent. The world’s changed a lot in the last 25 years and it’s the businesses that recognise the changing needs and choices of young professionals and modern families, who come out on top.

What flexible working looks like?

For lawyers working in private practice, flexible and agile working opens up opportunities that simply didn’t exist ten years ago. Including the ability to work remotely from different offices; work core hours that allow for school pick ups; and work from home with access to the same resources as if they were working in the office. Today, Allen & Overy announced the launch of an Apple-style ‘genius bar’ for staff working from home. Such practices were unheard of in the past. It was assumed that in order to get such flex, you had to be in-house or work for yourself. The general message from the firms I speak to in Birmingham City Centre, is that flexibility is a positive step; provided the work gets done and the clients are happy, there’s no reason why people shouldn’t take advantage.

Exceptions

Inevitably, there are exceptions to the rule. For example, new employees who are completing probationary periods, or when an advertised role states it’s office based on certain days. Whilst some firms are better at championing their flexible working policies than others, the overriding message is positive! Private practices recognise that flexible and agile working is hugely important in today’s business world: if they want to attract and retain staff it’s essential they get on board with – what’s considered in other industries – the norm.

If you’re thinking about making a move or feel your current role doesn’t give you the flexibility you want and need, why not get in touch? I specialise in placing lawyers into Birmingham's leading commercial firms. Please feel free to call me on 0121 237 5611 or email me at chloematthews@bcllegal.com to discuss your situation.

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