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Shearman offers lawyers 40% home-working option

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New policy will see some support roles go fully remote

Shearman & Sterling has become the latest law firm to finalise its long-term, flexible working policy, with the majority of lawyers and staff soon able to work remotely up to 40% of the time.

The US outfit says the “majority of employees” will attend the office three days each week — Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday — so that teams will be together for the bulk of the time and to ensure the continuing development and training of its lawyers.

Shearman confirmed roles such as receptionists, office services, assistants and on-site IT support will be required to attend the office 100% of the time, while other roles, such as tech support, will become fully remote. The new policy takes effect from 13 September.

The firm stressed that lawyers will be expected to attend the office for client meetings that fall outside of the core office days.

Shearman’s senior partner, David Beveridge, said the new approach is “tailored to meet the business needs of the firm and our clients while also providing some flexibility and absolute clarity for our people”.

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He continued: “It incorporates the views of our colleagues following our global survey earlier this year. We recognise the benefits of a hybrid approach with remote working offering flexibility and time for more focused tasks, while having specific ‘in the office’ days will facilitate in-person collaboration, as well as in-person learning and development opportunities.”

A host of City firms have introduced similar working policies in recent weeks as the lifting of Covid restrictions allow lawyers to finally return to their desks. The majority, like Shearman, have taken a split approach which enables lawyers to work remotely around two to three days each week, while others have taken a less structured approach, telling lawyers they’re free to organise their own office schedules.

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