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Nine Linklaters lawyers accept 33% pay cut to work 40-hour week

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Associates give reduced hours scheme a go

A group of Linklaters lawyers have accepted smaller pay cheques in return for reduced working hours, as part of a work-life balance programme launched by the magic circle giant earlier this year.

So far nine lawyers have signed up to the firm’s ‘yourlink’ scheme, currently available to lawyers in the firm’s four German offices.

Seen as an attractive alternative to the classic Linklaters’ career path, associates are paid 33% less, but are only expected to work a standard 40-hour week. Lawyers signing up to the deal — who have the option to switch back to the conventional route later on if they wish — are not eligible for partnership and will see a reduction in year-on-year pay increases.

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So what can yourlink lawyers expect to earn? Well, German newly qualified (NQ) solicitors will earn €80,000 (£71,500) on the scheme, compared with €120,000 (£107,000) for those opting for the standard package. Of the nine to put pen to paper on the new deal, five are new hires and four have made the switch from the firm’s traditional route.

If the scheme reaches UK shores, we calculate that a London-based NQ — again based on the same 33% reduction — would receive roughly £52,600 compared to the recently improved £78,500 earned by their peers on the standard hours deal. These figures exclude any potential bonuses.

Research undertaken by Legal Cheek shows Linklaters’ London trainees and junior lawyers arrive at the office on average at 9:14am and leave at 8:23pm, which is in line with other top firms across the City.

At the time of the scheme’s launch, a London spokesperson for Linklaters 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.”

Linklaters — which is the largest training contract provider in the City, with 110 positions annually — currently has 137 associates across its Munich, Duesseldorf, Frankfurt and Berlin outposts. The firm’s London office chalked up A*s for training, tech, perks and canteen in the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey 2017-18.

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