Top City law firms feature on 'family-friendly' employers list – Legal Cheek

Annual charity-compiled index looks at flexi working polices and parental support
A host of top law firms have been recognised for their efforts to become more ‘family-friendly’.
The annual list, compiled by UK charity Working Families, scores businesses on four key areas to compile a comprehensive overview of their flexible and family-friendly policies as well as practices that specifically support mothers, fathers, and carers. These are: integration to organisational strategy and culture; policy; consistent practice; and evidence and statistics.
Pinsent Masons featured among the top ten for the fifth consecutive year alongside the likes of the Crown Prosecution Service, American Express, Citi Group and the Welsh Parliament.
Looking across the entire 30-strong list, which is not ranked but listed alphabetically, there are also spots for Allen & Overy, Brodies, DAC Beachcroft, DWF, Mayer Brown, Mishcon de Reya and Norton Rose Fulbright.
Jane van Zyl, CEO of Working Families, commented: “After a year that has brought a succession of challenges and curveballs to employers of all sizes, it’s lovely to be able to celebrate those organisations role-modelling the absolute best of flexible, family friendly policies and practice. Our Top Employers are leading the way in creating workplaces that support the whole person — encouraging and enabling their staff team to get the best possible balance between home and work life.”
lol A&O? Don’t get me wrong they’re a great firm but definitely shouldn’t be on this list
Feel bad for A&O. Imagine being mentioned in the same sentence as a firm like DWF, Brodies or DAC Beachcroft.
I would love to think that my firm or other similar firms can be ‘family friendly’ places to work. However, I chose to qualify into a busy transactional team and I can’t see that I would be allowed to work part-time (even four days a week) if I decided to have a child, which is a shame because I really enjoy my job!
I’d love to be corrected, but I don’t think “flexible” working really means anything. I would still have to work the same number of hours overall e.g. whether that’s from 5pm-8pm, or from 8pm-11pm “flexibly”. (Or, you know, all night depending on if a transaction is closing…)
Any words of wisdom from people that have seen “family friendly” policies work well/badly at their firms? I’d be happy to move in-house, but I’d like to think it is a viable choice to stay in private practice…
As you allude to, it’ll only work if you can get the work that you need to get done “flexibly”.
It also depends how the team is structured for each transaction and whether there is any potential for that to be changed. The reason associates end up working unpredictable and long hours is teams are generally set up as lean as possible.
If something hits the desk at 5pm and the work has to be done urgently (e.g. 3 hours of work required within 12 hours) and you are the only one that can do it, then you’ll have to pick it up at either 5pm to 8pm, 9pm to midnight, 2am to 5am, or whatever suits you best. Would it work for the firm and/or the client to put two associates on it? Would that be fair on the other associate who then has to pick stuff up all the hours because your evening time for family life is deemed more sacred?

DWF and Pinsent Masons make top ten — again
Recognised for paving the way towards gender-equal workplaces
Recognised for creating workplace environments inclusive of women
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