Eversheds introduces scheme to vary lawyers’ hours and pay according to workflow

By on

Doesn’t apply to trainees

Eversheds Sutherland has become the latest City law firm to roll out a series of belt-tightening measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including a new scheme that sees its lawyers’ hours and pay vary according to workflow.

The firm today announced the launch of a new ‘Flexing the Working Week’ scheme which allows it to temporarily reduce the working hours for certain teams as and when they become less busy. Lawyers’ hours can drop down to a maximum of 80% of their “usual pattern”, with an associated reduction in pay for any period “on flex” to 80%.

It says the scheme, which runs for six months from 1 June, allows teams to be moved on and off flex to “help us match capacity with work volumes”. It does not apply to trainees, apprentices or colleagues whose base salary is under a certain threshold. Other employee benefits remain unaffected.

The scheme is being introduced across the firm’s UK and international offices with “certain details changed to reflect market norms and regulations”, it said.

In addition, Eversheds confirmed equity partner remuneration has been reduced by an average of 25%, in response to “partners’ desire to lead the firm’s response and be the first to feel the impact of any financial measures needed to protect the business and the jobs of our people”.

Legal Cheek‘s Firms Most List shows profit per equity partner (PEP) at the firm sits at very healthy £886,000 — or £664,500 post-COVID cut.

Lee Ranson, CEO of Eversheds, said: “I am really proud of how the business and all our people have responded to these unprecedented times. Notwithstanding the challenges, client feedback shows that we have been able to continue to deliver the highest standard of client service.”

The 2020 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

He continued:

“From the very start of the COVID-19 outbreak, we have said that we want to protect not only the strength of the business but also the jobs of our people. To support this, we now want to introduce our Flexing the Working Week Scheme. We have consulted widely across the firm on its terms to make sure we have a scheme which is right for us as a business and for our people.”

A number of City law firms have taken similar steps to reduce costs in response to outbreak.

Staff at Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF) recently voted in favour of temporary measures which will allow some of them to drop down to a four-day working week and take a 20% pay cut for one year. Dentons‘ UK and Middle East (UKME) arm has also called on staff to agree to “flexible reduced work patterns” for six months from 1 June.

Shearman & Sterling, meanwhile, launched a voluntary leave programme that allows its lawyers to take a maximum of six months off work at a third of their annual salary. Fellow US player Reed Smith is offering employees the option to take up to three months unpaid leave.

Sign up to the Legal Cheek Newsletter


disgruntled toiler

SPB, take note: this is how you do pay cuts.


Disgruntled Applicant

Hi, I am not so happy about the adjective in your name…

I do, however, agree with the sentiment of your comment.

please give me a TC…



Better than greedier firms demanding staff take pay cuts for zero reduction in hrs.



Is this only based on chargeable hours? I think this could create a particularly bad culture of billable work hoarding and refusal/complete reluctance to do anything non-billable.



Even if it’s not based on chargeable hours, that’s what will inevitably happen if they have not moved the goal posts for billable hours/financial targets in order to qualify for any bonus. 5-7 PQEs trying to score partnership will not talk to anyone but partners and clients handing out billable work. Juniors and trainees will get screwed out of training opportunities.

Private practice is not geared towards collegiate support.



If it is depending on workflow, that could mean some departments get near enough nothing and then others that happen to be busy get a lot.

It doesn’t take into account that some areas of work have been hit harder than others, doesn’t mean they deserved to be paid any less in a time like this


Good Game

” Lawyers’ hours can drop down to a maximum of 80% of their “usual pattern”, with an associated reduction in pay for any period “on flex” to 80%.”

So not nothing then.


Terry Choc

This seems like a great idea but it will create a rift in firms between departments which are lucky enough to be busy right now and other departments who have been hit hard.


Kirkland boi

Lmao which fool works at shet betafirm like the Shed anyway ?



Eversheds in Dublin but trainee pay by 20% to €30,400 and availed of the government covid scheme whereby the government now pay 80% of that salary and the firm pays the remaining 20%.



Eversheds flex scheme is on a voluntary basis i.e. only the employees who have volunteered to be flexed are considered. Are other law firms employing a voluntary uptake for their flex schemes? What happens to those who do not volunteer to join the scheme? Why can law firms not mandate the flex scheme? Other industries have been able to push down changes to employment contracts. I think that a voluntary uptake into the scheme seems unfair to the people who would sign up to help the firm.

Any understanding would be much appreciated.


Comments are closed.

Related Stories