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Squires introduces ‘all-in Thursdays’ in WFH policy shake-up

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Change ‘works for majority of people’, says firm

Squire Patton Boggs (SPB) has unveiled a new flexible working policy that will require all its staff to come into the office on Thursdays, reducing the number of days its lawyers can work from home from three days to just two.

The firm’s European managing partner Jonathan Jones labelled the new policy ‘all-in Thursdays’ in a speech to staff about the new arrangements.

In September 2020, the firm launched a trial period where it allowed its lawyers to work remotely up to 50% of the time. The firm confirmed to Legal Cheek that, prior to the announcement, SPB’s associates were asked to come three days a week, while its professional staff had no set number of office days mandated by the firm.

At the time, Jones stated that the firm “will be monitoring circumstances closely and listening to our people over the coming months in order to be as flexible and accommodating as possible to everyone’s varying circumstances. Over time, we look forward to welcoming colleagues, clients and business contacts back to the office.”

It appears that that moment is now arriving. A spokesperson for the firm said:

“After surveying our employees, it is clear that our hybrid working trial has been successful and will now be embedded in our on-going work arrangements. Equally, our people have expressed that they enjoy being together and appreciate the benefits that come from in-office collaboration, supervision and mentoring. Taking this all into consideration, we have decided to institute an ‘all-in’ day every Thursday, which we understand works for a majority of people. ”

The spokesperson added that any change to pre-existing working arrangements “would be subject to discussion with that individual’s manager to assure that person’s needs are met”.

The 2023 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

SPB isn’t the only firm to tweak its approach to flexible working. Earlier this summer Magic Circle player Freshfields confirmed lawyers would need to be in the office at least three days-a-week — a change to the 50% of the time previously implemented by the firm.

But there has been great divergence in flexible working policies among different law firms.

Last year, RPC told lawyers and staff they could work from home permanently so long as this doesn’t impact on client service and collaborating with colleagues, whilst in April Stephenson Harwood announced it will reduce the salaries of staff who want to work from home permanently by 20% with a policy that staff must work from the office three days a week.

Others are still experimenting with more extensive WFH policies. During August US outfit Shearman & Sterling gave all its London staff the option to work remotely following feedback from an internal survey of its staff.

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23 Comments

James

Good on them. WFH is fine here and there but this is still very much a people business.

(15)(43)

Comfy at home

Its not though is it. Most lawyers spend 80%+ of their time working on documents and communicating by email. It’s pretty much the exact opposite of a people business.

If you set out to build a role to be suited for working from home – you would come up with an associate in a commercial law firm.

(79)(11)

Prole worker

Managers gotta manage

(17)(2)

Run while you can

Row your oars harder slaves, no thin gruel for you unless those hourly targets are hit!

Oh and you have to return to the office on Thursday, because we say so.

(34)(2)

Anonymous

When I grow up I dream to become a commercial property solicitor at SPB.

(24)(0)

Alan

Entirely agree with this, my only comment being that all staff should be in every day Monday to Friday inclusive. I know lots of the younger generation are never available at home and off walking the dog, playing with a baby or having a “mental health time out” or other such nonsense. Productivity is adversely affected by working from home, it’s just a fact, and it’s no wonder this country is going to the dogs.

(14)(62)

Is that you?

Partridge?

(13)(3)

Christmas already?

In a pear tree?

(0)(0)

Al Manac

No, we have two Chancellors and another Prime Minister still to come before Christmas season starts.

(5)(2)

Big Al’s Big Pal

It’s Big Al.

Everyone knows Big Al!

Dunc

Ok boomer.

(12)(2)

Alan

You could at least be original in your ad hominems.

(2)(6)

Chorlton

OK boomer

(6)(4)

Sceptical

If “it’s just a fact” you will have no trouble linking to a sizable body of evidence that shows this? (no daily mail or express articles allowed)

(7)(4)

Alan

If you don’t believe reputable, widely circulated mainstream media then there’s no way I would waste my time trying to convince you. Clearly a troll.

(1)(17)

Anon1

Did you just suggest the Daily Mail and the Express are reputable!? You’re not persuading anyone here of anything you say after that blunder

(1)(1)

Anon

I spent Monday in the office and Tuesday at home. I had a roughly consistent general workload across both days.

On Monday I recorded 7 chargeable hours because of 1.5 hours commuting, and easily another 1.5 hours in ad hoc chats and lunch with colleagues.

On Tuesday I recorded 11 chargeable hours.

There are some positive aspects of office work but increased productivity is not one of them.

(10)(2)

Alan

Thanks for that iron clad unimpeachable evidence. I’m convinced now, despite the massive amount of contradictory evidence by an anecdote from an anonymous poster online with a sample size of one.

(0)(6)

Inner Templar In The Cotswolds

I have forgotten what London looks like Monday to Friday. It is jolly nice to be here. Glad I don’t have a resentful pen pusher telling me where to go on a Thursday.

(28)(0)

Kirkland NQ

This wouldn’t work at the ‘land, there wouldn’t be enough space in the car park for all the Lambos if we were all in on the same day.

(22)(5)

Sceptical

If “it’s just a fact” you will have no trouble linking to a sizable body of evidence that shows this? (no daily mail or express articles allowed)

(5)(2)

Aussie lawyer

If productivity were the key driver, all SPB would need to do to save face is provide data showing firm-wide billable hours over the last, say, 6 months on WFH days vs non WFH days. As no such data has been produced to support the decision, I can only make an adverse inference. Decisions which impact people’s lives significantly (and I would add disproportionately, given those of lower socioeconomic status are more likely to have a longer commute and other responsibilities that they do not have the means to outsource), should always be supported by assessment against objective and measurable criteria, not the “feels” of management.

(8)(0)

Jane

Rumour has it, management are also trying to encourage people not to take annual leave on a Thursday (unless part of a longer period of annual leave).

(0)(0)

Comments are closed.

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