Reed Smith offers flexi-working option to all London lawyers

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By Thomas Connelly on

But trainees are likely to miss out

Global law firm Reed Smith has implemented a new agile working policy within its London office.

The firm has today revealed that “all personnel” (that’s 350 lawyers) will be able to take advantage of the new scheme, which will allow them to work away from the office and operate on flexible hours.

Adopting a more “ad-hoc approach” to the typical working week, Reed Smith told us there is “no maximum” amount of time that a member of staff can spend outside the office.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Reed Smith’s managing partner, Andrew Jenkinson, said:

At Reed Smith, we are continually looking at how we can evolve and adapt our ways of working to embrace technology and afford our staff greater flexibility. We have taken the decision to adopt agile working in order to fully support all personnel in meeting their work goals: where, when and how they see fit.

Unfortunately it seems unlikely Reed Smith’s 40 or so trainees will be able to take advantage of the policy.

Staff “undergoing training” or who “require face-to-face supervisory time” must remain within the confines of the office. A spokesperson for the firm told us:

We don’t want to say ‘no, never’ to trainees. That said, we recognise that agile working is less suitable in a circumstance in which one is undergoing training and spending face-to-face supervisory time is critical. That is not to say that they will never be able to take advantage of the policy but it will be more difficult to justify and will be a discussion for the trainee and their line manager.

Coming into effect today, the policy also states that any lawyer wishing to work from home or down their local pub cafe must gain prior approval from their partner.

Reed Smith — which chalked up a respectable B grade for work/life balance in Legal Cheek’s 2016/17 annual law firm survey — is now one of a vast number of City outfits to have rolled out flexi-working initiatives.

Last year, Macfarlanes, Freshfields and White & Case unveiled their own agile working schemes. This followed similar moves by the likes of Shearman & Sterling, Herbert Smith Freehills, Berwin Leighton Paisner, Dentons, Mishcon de Reya and Nabarro.

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