LONDON, April 20 Lawyers working for Linklaters
in Germany will be able to work fewer hours for lower pay from
next month, breaking the profession's mould of punishing
"YourLink", a career path which offers pre-agreed, regular
hours, will be on offer to Linklaters lawyers below partner
level in Germany from May 1.
Linklaters, one of Britain's leading law firms, says the
initiative is born partly from a long and onerous legal
qualification period in Germany, which reduces the pool of
qualified lawyers, and competition from public service agencies
and companies seeking in-house legal advisers.
These roles have long been considered easier than working at
law firms, where a work-life balance is seen as hard to achieve.
"We recognise that alternative, flexible options are
increasingly in demand," Thomas Schmidt, head of human resources
at Linklaters, said.
Recently-qualified lawyers choosing "YourLink" would be paid
80,000 euros ($86,000) in their first year, compared to 120,000
euros for their classic-track colleagues. Promotions and salary
increases would be driven by performance and seniority.
Those choosing "YourLink" would still be able to work on top
mandates in an international environment and could switch to a
classic career track if they wished, Linklaters said.
Almost 65 percent of junior lawyers in England and Wales
blamed a high workload for stress at work in a recent survey by
the Junior Lawyers Division, an arm of the UK Law Society. The
JLD said in February it had flagged the wellbeing of its members
as one of its key concerns for 2017.
Linklaters, which is not expecting a huge initial take-up of
the initiative, said it believed it was the first major law firm
to implement such a career model. It will monitor the plan's
success before deciding whether to extend it to other countries.
Other part-time initiatives already in place at Linklaters,
which include lawyers taking a "post-deal break", are not
affected by the move, the firm's German office said.
($1 = 0.9307 euros)
(Reporting by Kirstin Ridley; editing by Alexander Smith)