Slaughter and May offers junior lawyers ‘job share’ option

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Magic circle firm pilots series of flexi-work schemes which see associates work reduced hours for less pay

Magic circle firm Slaughter and May is piloting a series of flexible working schemes which includes the option for its lawyers to job share.

Under the arrangement, two associates are able to work together to cover one role. Each associate will work for three days a week, with one day of overlap, and the pairing could consist of two associates with the same level of experience, or a junior and senior associate.

A second option being trialled by the firm is reducing working hours by up to 20% and taking predetermined blocks of leave to align with, for example, the school holidays. The “switch on/off” scheme is not limited to parents and associates that opt for this approach will work five days a week in-between their periods of holiday.

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The final option enables associates to work on a project basis. They’re able to cut their hours by up to 20% and take an unpaid period of time off in between large transactions, on top of their annual leave allowance. But they’ll commit to working end to end for the duration of a transaction, during which they’ll be expected to work five days a week.

The reduction in pay will reflect the amount of time an associate takes off, a spokesperson said. So, if an associate cuts their hours by 20%, they will receive 20% less pay.

Many City lawyers are expected to return to the office from next week as ‘work from home’ guidance is dropped. In May, Slaughters announced the “majority” of its lawyers and staff based in London and Brussels can work remotely for up to two days a week, but its trainees can only do the same up to one day a week.

In 2017, Linklaters trialled a reduced hours and pay programme but this was limited to its German offices.

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Just another S&M ruse to pay people less. Every other firm would just give crushed juniors a breather after a crazy deal. That’s been a tradition for years at both UK and US firms. S&M now wants to monetise it.



The trick is to try and time your breakdown so it coincides with the end of the deal.


Fed up

Nobody cares. Pay us.



‘If an associate cuts their hours by 20%, they will receive 20% less pay’. This is the crux of the matter, all the other stuff are confusing.



Impossible to get reduced hours in transactional teams where work can come in any time of the day and you are at the mercy of the deal. You have no fixed hours as a lawyer anyway you just have to do what comes your way. This is a nice ruse to lower pay and black list people for promotion.



Each person working 3 days of 5 for 20% less pay. So they’re doing 4 days’ work in 3 days. In total, you have 2 people doing a combined 8 days of work for each working week. If the crossover day can be seamless and this duo effectively works with the knowledge as if it one super-individual, then that is fine. Difficulty is, I don’t think that’ll happen. Also, it doesn’t address the small issue of what happens if something must be done on a Saturday or a Sunday. Does Mr/Mrs Monday to Wednesday or Mr/Mrs Wednesday to Friday pick it up?

The end result is probably something along the lines of Water, Rusk (Wheat), Rehydrated Pork Rind, Pork Liver (15%), Onion, Pork (4%), Wheat Flour, Salt, Sage, Spice Extracts



Mr Brains right there.


Whole Foods

19% pork but over 3/4 of that is liver! Grim. I wouldn’t eat them.


MC ass

Lots of people at my firm already work 90% or 80% reduced hours. In practice, it just means they mostly end up doing 100% hours in 4 days a week for 80% pay.

It’s not good enough to just say you’re doing it, there needs to be an entire system in place where people can actually take the day off and be fully supported. Otherwise it just means doing the same amount of work compressed into fewer days, and getting paid less for it.



I hold a TC from S&M and recognise I am in a fortunate position to have any offer at all. However, as I delve further into the firm, there is something increasingly offputting about it – above and beyond the usual pomp and stuffiness.

I get the distinct impression that this firm will do anything they can to miminse costs, and quietly increase the workload of junior lawyers. I am leaning towards turning down the offer, and heading to Links or Weil.



lol nobody believes you buddy. Probably an Open University fresh who has just completed a Bright Network virtual internship



Right…says the guy who starts a sentence with ‘lol’.

Also, it speaks volumes that you are subtly denigrating students at the Open University and those trying to better themselves via virtual internships.



Do not turn down the TC.

Do your two years and if the firm is no good, leave.


Future MC trainee

They made a point on the winter workshop about how S&M are competitively edged in their benefits, for instance offering 30 days leave. For a firm that supposedly has one of the highest PEP in the city (+£2m), is it so hard to offer a competitive comp too? Almost all DLA Piper lawyers took the option of pay over an extended holiday for a reason.. comp > artificial benefits. Wake up S&M.



I think the 30 days leave is the only thing we get that other firms don’t give? It really is a terrible firm with greedy partners – they can’t even be bothered to increase NQ salaries. DO NOT TRAIN HERE.



Key word is “supposedly”. They don’t publish financial results or even give soft confirmations of the estimates of the legal press.

It’s a good firm, no question, but if Slaughters really had a sky-high PEP they wouldn’t act the way they do on remuneration (e.g. lowest associate salaries of the MC and now these reduced hours/reduced pay tricks).

Slaughters want everybody to think it’s the English version of Wachtell, but really it’s just Linklaters without the overseas offices.


Deals McStuffins

Aka how to not pay our lawyers between deals



I don’t believe for a second that the hours reductions, and the days off, will be respected. There’s an unspoken pressure to do whatever needs to be done, whenever it needs to be done.

Also, for a job share you’d need to prepare a very detailed handover every week or else you’ll be answering questions and fielding calls on your days off from your confused job-share asking what’s going on. Doesn’t seem very efficient.


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