I qualified in 2002 and was full time until 2005 when I had my first period of mat leave. I went back in 2006 (after 9 mths mat leave + accrued holiday) 3 days per wk. Changed my contract at that point to a 3 day week.
Had 2nd period of mat leave in 2009 (9 mths again + holiday) returned on the same 3 day per week contract.
If you've done something similar, had mat leave and had periods of p/t hrs, do you count your PQE differently. Would you say I'm 11yrs PQE, or 9.5 (disallowing mat leave)? Would you only count your part time yrs as 3/5?
I've worked for the same firm throughout so its never been an issue but wondering how its viewedin other firms.
Experience has naff all to do with PQE though. I have never heard a defence of PQE that doesn't basically boil down to 'I don't want to do the work to figure out what skill set and experience this employee/candidate has'. Though I am always open to hearing one.
It isn't comparable with A-levels. A-levels is at least measure how you did on a particular test. PQE is just a measure of time - not any measure of what you have actually done or how you have performed.
Whilst I accept that if you have had time out for maternity leave etc you may have less on the job legal experience than someone who has not, I think the point here is that maternity leave should not automatically mean a reduction in PQE.
I really don't think that it is as black and white as saying maternity leave = less legal experience = reduction in PQE. If your performance is at your actual PQE (as set out in whatever obscure competency document your firm publishes on its intranet) then there you should stay.
Also, I think it is worth mentioning that just because you are at home with children does not mean you stop developing as a person (or as a lawyer). I am I much more confident with colleagues and with clients than I was pre-children. I have a totally different perspective which I am sure makes me a better lawyer (certainly a more efficient one!). "experience " in the law is about so much more than hours at a desk and I think how "senior" you are as a lawyer depends on so so much more than hours at the coal face - it's also about how you interact with clients, how you act as a member of a team and how you manage and support more junior colleagues, all skills I think can be honed very nicely indeed outside of an office environment and what better experience of dealing with partner meltdowns than dealing with a tantrum prone toddler
Seriously though, I had 2 full years of maternity leave but in that time I worked incredibly hard to stay up to date in my (fairly niche ) specialism. I have managed to come back in and perform at a level equivalent to my PQE, according to the partners I work for and as against the competences they use as a reference. All I am asking for is that I be rewarded on the basis of my performance. If I have to describe this with reference to the out-dated PQE system then so be it - 6 PQE, no reduction because of maternity leave.
PQE is also a crap measure for those of us who have worked in the advice sector post-qualification too. For a lot of work in social welfare law, you don't need a PC. As budgets tend to be tight in law centres, CABs, legal charities etc, organisations often don't pay for it. Or they might pay for one or two, for very senior staff, to have a solicitor about the place for judicial reviews etc. I spent about 18 months immediately post-qualifying in the advice sector, doing the same work as I do now in private practice, but it doesn't count towards PQE. Fortunately, my current employer recognises that as relevant experience. I can see that this isn't hugely relevant in most specialisms, although there are apparently more and more NQs having to paralegal now. But if you're in a social welfare, legal charity type area, it does matter.
OP, I find that in job interviews they often ask whether you were full time or part time. So it comes out anyway.
Its obviously a bug bear (quite rightly!) for some people, including me! I think the date you qualified isn't really relevant at all, but its the only measure that the majority of law firms seem to use
I am really horrified at the suggestion that someone should reduce their PQE because they work part time?! I can see that if (for example) you had some significant time out - by which I mean more than a mat leave year, a career break for example - then your firm may charge you out at a lower PQE to reflect the fact you've been out for a couple of years - but because you work PT?! As previous poster mentioned, I think this would be discrimination!