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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Sounds a progressive an positive move. Hopefully it can allow some quality talent to succeed at the firm and make reasonable money without causing themselves harm through the tradition excessive hours.



Ah, so you can now actually label yourself a Beta? Well that makes everything much simpler!



Surely you can’t make someone take a pay cut for the standard full time working week?



How many of them were women?



That’s still a pretty good deal.



Very surprising as the modest gain to the company in salary is hugely eclipsed by the massive loss of profit costs. Although I suppose they could just hire more people to do the work.


CMS Slave

“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.”

Remind me why do I toil for £67.5k at CMS again? Never knew the German lawyers had it so good.



Sparkling water on tap. Secret tunnel to the Pelt Trader. Living the CMS dream.


US Firm Trainee

What does it feel like to cry yourself to sleep every night, knowing you only managed to bag a CMS TC?


MC Trainee

US Firm, CMS, Irwin Mitchell – all much the same



If they earn more than you doesn’t mean they are better than you.
Or maybe yes



I think it’s disgraceful that they won’t be eligible for partnership… Surely the hours you work can’t be the most important determining factor for partnership!?



What are you talking about?!

Put yourself in the shoes of someone who hasn’t opted for this scheme – you put 10 years of 10,12,14 etc hour days in, all for someone who has worked half the time you have to take partnership!

Gew and work in China, me old bean!



This model will only ever apply to Germany. It takes at least 7 years to become a lawyer there with fierce state exams (many even do PHDs as it is basically free) and in-house pays around 70-80k as well. Therefore, unlike in the UK, it is not the firms but the graduates who have the stronger negotiating position. Linklaters might try to sell this as a “pilot” for “innovative ways of working” but in fact, they only do this because they were losing their lawyers to in-house. By the way, in-house is completely different there. Companies like BMW have legal departments way bigger than most law firms in the country. Therefore, being a top dog there is regarded higher than being a partner in a law firm.



Fucking. Pathetic.



“Irwin Mitchell follows Linklaters model”.

Linklaters reduces contracted hours to 40 hours per week, whilst Irwin Mitchell cancels zero-hours contracts and increases to 40 hours per week.




And what about DWF?

When it merges with behemoth Irwin Mitchell…

Bring on the 40 hours week!



“We are treating the German 40-hour week model as a pilot to understand how it works…”

What? Understand how a normal week works? The corporate law long hours, firm-first, brain addled cult nonsense really is shit.

I pity all you sols, I really do.


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