Any solicitor working in flexible hours after maternity?(21 Posts)
Hi all. I was wondering if anyone sent an e-mail to their managers after returning to work from mat leave saying that they cannot do regular overtime anymore and can mainly work contracted hours only due to their childcare responsibilities. Is it possible to be dismissed on the basis of such e-mail or are employers obliged to try and make your work fit only in your contracted hours? I work in an environment where one's job can simply not be done within the contracted hours and regular overtime is the norm so I am also wondering what are the employer's obligation regarding no overloading of an employee's day. thanks
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Hi - I'm a lawyer for a large national firm, and I'll be going on maternity leave at the end of June. I don't have any experience of my own yet but from what I've seen, I would agree with cassell - I know lots of working mums that leave a little earlier to relieve the nanny/collect the children from mursey, put them to bed and then do a couple of hours in the evening. It seems to take lots of juggling but generally works.
The on demand job really works? Who contract this kind of job? Of course you don´t have a career plan but at least the payment is fair? Any experience at Axiom, Lawyers on Demand and Obelisk Legal Support?
Betty5313 this is not a bad example, we must be flexible. The challenge changes we change, ever trying to do our best ! Your DD will be proud and know how important she is to you.
Hi -EFD here with new name. Sorry for prolonged absence! emsyj yes I am in pensions (and if you read this will probably have outed myself given that it's quite a small world!)
As you say, quite a high demand in this area plus the client base and work types are fairly unique for city/large regional firm work but I think that all affects the open-mindedness of the senior partners rather than whether these working patterns are actually capable of working well in law - I firmly believe they should work well for pretty much everything outside transactional stuff, but it is not exactly a progrssive profession in some ways! One barrier at a time!
I also do 3 days, I have slightly shortened contracted hours (8.30am to 4pm with 30mins for lunch) but actually work 7.30-4 with no lunch (other than at my desk) for 2 days and then one day with a late night (to 8pm or later) to make up for the fact that the other 2 nights I have to leave at 4pm on the dot. I also have to log on in the evenings / my days off / weekends and have to change my work days as required (for Court appointments etc). That's seen as a really good deal in my firm (top 50) in a contentious specialism. I only think that was possible because I'd been there 5 years before I asked for part time hours so was relatively well thought of.
I think if you're looking for basic hours (9-5) with no requirement to work above and beyond those hours then you need to look outside of private practice (possibly local authority work / law lecturing) unless you can find a PSL role or a small, high street firm (although they'd still be expecting you to meet your targets / do some BD etc). That may involve re-training or going back to an NQ level depending on your specialism.
I work part-time. Currently 12 hours per week(!) - I know, what's the point, eh? But previously 3 days. I do legal aid though and my job has always been broadly 9-5 though I am used to doing the odd bit in the evening.
I'm lucky that my firm is incredibly supportive. It is not an easy job to do part-time though.
sorry about all the spellingand grammar error, haven't got used to typing on a phone yet! in my experience property still worked fine part time, I was doing big deals and a lot of the lawyers in private practice on the other side were also part time.
I went back 14 hours a week after dd was born. I worked as a local govt lawyer in property/ highways/ traffic. the clients didn't mind, I spread kun hours over three days so response times weren't affectedbut the killers were that the three days I'd dropped weren't filled due to the cutbacks and dd was always ill! I was also asked to take on litigation which was my background in private practice and it was impossible to do that. there was no money to get me a laptop and internet access so I couldn't work from home. government data security meant I wasn't allowed to use my own.
I am currently at home full time. I gottaken on freelance by one of the firms mentioned but haven't had any work.
I really miss using my brain and feel I am setting a v bad example to dd:work hard, get a first,establish a good career and you will still end up looking after children full time!
Do you do pensions or share schemes, EFD by any chance? <nosey> I am an ex pensions lawyer . I think if I had stayed in London, I would have had a decent shot at getting flexible arrangements somewhere for pensions, as it is a high demand area and firms will pretty much accommodate you if they need your experience. For family reasons though, we moved back up north. It's much harder here as there is less of that type of work and therefore fewer opportunities, although I did find 4 days a week was generally considered acceptable. 4 full days though.... Not reduced hours.
I work in a niche employment-related area and do 80% hours across 5 days - i.e. I am in the office for part of every day but leave early/come in late some days. It works well as from client's/colleague's perspective it is no different to me being in quite a lot of meetings! It's becoming increasingly common in my firm (city practice, 50 fee earners).
I left law and am now a civil servant - much much more flexible, although obviously the financial rewards are less. It's great - no stress, people are nice, the work is ok (not law, but am using my brain and it's interesting) and family and home life are 101% respected. There is no expectation that you will work beyond your contracted hours and if you need to arrive/leave at particular times, you can.
I think it is exceptionally difficult to find flexible options in private practice, and as others have said it depends more on the firm than the practice area, but you could look at the Government Legal Service. It's exceptionally competitive though and you would probably need relevant experience (depending on which department you wanted to join). If you look on the GLS website there are details of the sorts of work each one does.
Have you thought about working as a PSL? The hours are regular and there is often an option to work part-time. Alternatively, you could look at working as a freelance lawyer with companies like Axiom, Lawyers on Demand and Obelisk Legal Support.
I´m not working at the moment, so, completly opened to new ideas, including leave law...
I worked slightly contracted hours on a part time basis (something like 1/2 hour shorter than normal each day, 4 days a week) after DC1. It didn't really work out like that though, as I had to log in after she went to bed/on day off when it was busy. And that was with an understanding boss. THat seems to be about as good as it gets, in private practice.
Could you move onto the commercial side in the bank? Would that have any more manageable hours? Or into compliance? Or leave law? I've left entirely, so can't offer much help on related moves.
I had moved to a smaller firm pre DC in a hope for better work life balance, and I did get that, most of the time, so it is possible (at least to a degree, until all your deadlines fall at once, which is when life in smaller firms is tough).
Can't you at least ask re contracted hours? If you don't ask, you'll never know what their view is.
IMO it's more down to the attitude of the firm/company you work for than the actual practice area. Obviously some areas (eg conveyancing) are more likely to work on shorter hours than big corporate deals or international work. I'm on ML with dc2 at the moment but in between dc1 and dc2 I worked 3 days a wk 9-5 although with the understanding I'd do any v urgent work in the evening. I'm a commercial litigator. My firm (mid size/top 50) is very good about flexible working and a lot of the female lawyers (and a few male) in a range of areas (including litigation, personal injury, property, commercial, employment, insolvency) work part time.
Surely it's not as simple as that. Are you a specialist in many different areas? If not then you'll need to retrain and effectively work as an NQ again.
I don't think any area of law in a traditional law firm is really compatible with working flexibly. You will constantly be juggling or working more hours than you are paid for. It's just one of those jobs. You could work freelance if you're qualified enough. It's a model that is becoming ever more common.
I really think about all the time and don´t have idea of which area to choose that fits to a flexible work. Working 9 to 5 (6,7...) in a square don´t allow me to know other practice areas ....
Me. I'm small fry compared to you (high street, albeit a big high street firm). I still have my pre maternity leave job but work school hours. I asked and to my surprise they agreed.
As lawyer I worked as "in house" in bank, but I can´t work 7 h/day anymore. The money was OK but now don´t pay see my DD only 2 h a day when she is waking up and going to sleep. What could I do as solicitor in flexible bases? Which area of law could fits best?
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