Slaughter & May’s Work-Life Balance Initiative

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Work-Life balance issues have long dominated discussion about Big Law work, but now a legal leader has landed a heavyweight document to counter the issue by providing better life for its lawyers – but at some cost, too.

Slaughter & May have decided to relieve their lawyers from checking emails in the hours between 10 pm and 8am (‘unless necessary’) and

The Financial Times report that the firm has provided a 37 point document to help relieve lawyers from the demanding hours required by demanding clients and demanding billing requirements.

Emails will not need checking more often than once on Friday evening and a couple of times on the weekend, unless work demands the checks.

Will it work?

One associate at the firm noted to the FT that the firm was expensive, “like a five star hotel” and clients would always come first.

“..if you call room service at 2am for a sundae, you get one.”

The ‘disempowering’ nature of the pandemic meant that lawyers were always on and always required to be around – personally or virtually. The firm intends to try and restore some balance to the lives of their hardworking staff.

The report is part of an effort to develop a better environment for staff in an intensely competitive work environment, spurred by intense competition for US Big Law firms with deep pockets and high expectations of both staff and profits.

Slaughter and May is trying to differentiate itself through overhauling its pay and working conditions. Pay has increased to  £115,000 for newly qualified lawyers, a £8,000 increase from last May.

Whether the efforts work is another story because, as always and as the firm’s associate reported, the client is always there to be served – even at 2am in the morning.

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