Come into the office just 60% of the time, Herbert Smith Freehills tells lawyers

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Benchmark set for post-pandemic operations

Herbert Smith Freehills’ London office

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has become the latest City law firm to update its agile working policy in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with lawyers and support staff now excepted to work in the office for an average of 60% of their working time.

The global firm said the 60% benchmark applies to partners, lawyers and business services roles, including PAs, and can be adjusted to suit each individual, team and situation.

By way of example, some lawyers may come to office for “critical phases of team projects”, the firm said, “but then spend more time working from home during the weeks that follow”.

Commenting on the policy update, the firm’s CEO, Justin D’Agostino, said: “Despite the pressure and worries of the pandemic, we know that many of our people have greatly valued the flexibility of how, where and when we work, gaining more time for their families, health and other commitments.”

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He continued:

“We also recognise that the office will remain an important place for connection, collaboration and learning, with clients and with each other. By setting this benchmark for post-pandemic operations, we hope to give our people the flexibility to design a working pattern that suits them, their colleagues and our clients, and to offer some certainty in uncertain times.”

The 60% benchmark will only apply once the firm’s London office is physically open and operational, and social distancing rules have been relaxed or removed.

Magic circle player Linklaters introduced a similar policy last month, telling lawyers and staff they will now have the opportunity to work remotely for up to 20-50% of their time. Similarly, Squire Patton Boggs (SPB) announced recently it was abolishing “core hours” so it can offer lawyers and staff greater flexibility with start and finish times.

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