Work less, earn less: Linklaters offers lawyers who want a life outside the office an ‘alternative career model’

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By Thomas Connelly on

The scheme is being piloted next month

Global giant Linklaters is offering its lawyers the option to work fewer hours for less cash.

‘YourLink’, which will be trialled across the firm’s four German offices from next month, will allow associates to pre-agree what time they arrive and leave the office.

Seen as an attractive alternative to the “classic Linklaters career path”, lawyers will work a standard 40-hour week and will not be expected to check emails (unless in exceptional circumstances) outside these pre-set times.

But this flexibility is reflected in lawyers’ salaries. While an associate in their first year of employment on the “classic” career path will earn €120,000 (£101,000), those punting for Linklaters’ more ‘work-life balance friendly’ option will pocket just €80,000 (£67,000). After this, salary increases on the ‘YourLink’ track will be based on “performance and seniority”.

The ‘YourLink’ route is open to both the firm’s new and more experienced lawyers, who have the option to revert back to the “classic” career track at anytime.

Commenting on the scheme, Linklaters’ head of human resources in Germany, Thomas Schmidt, said:

We see that alternative, flexible options are increasingly in demand. With ‘YourLink’ we want to offer outstanding talents a whole new career path.

But could ‘YourLink’ reach the magic circle player’s London office? As things stand, data collected by Legal Cheek shows Links’ London lawyers arrive at the office on average at 9.32am and leave at 8.26pm, which is in line with other top firms. But perhaps there could be the option to work shorter average hours once the pilot has concluded. A spokesperson for Linklaters’ London office said:

We are treating the German 40-hour week model as a pilot to understand how it works and how it might be adopted in other markets. It is an example of how we are trying to innovate with different types of flexible working to ensure we attract and retain the very best talent.

Today’s news comes just two weeks after UK-based research suggested that a whopping 90% of young lawyers have felt under “too much emotional or mental pressure” at work in the past month. Part of the Junior Lawyers Division’s ‘Resilience and wellbeing survey report’, 65% of respondents blamed their “high workloads” for the stress.

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