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Risk and reward: Why are law firms going agile?

On April 29, Clifford Chance became the latest big law firm to announce it would adopt flexible working permanently in 2021. (Read the full story on The Global Legal Post.)

Big names in the legal sector clearly see an advantage in new ways of work, unlike some of their counterparts in other sectors. The CEO of Goldman Sachs, for example, described remote working as “an aberration”.

What is driving these decisions to go agile for good? And what are the implications for the physical office?

We ask the second question because if partners want to reduce or reconfigure their pricey real estate, it’s crucial to get true data about how office space is used. That goes for through the back-to-work covid period and beyond. Don’t make big decisions you might regret without it.

This article explains how and why

As to why legal practices are opting for a flexible future, here’s a rundown of some of the firms taking the plunge and their reasons.

  • Clifford Chance: Staff allowed to work out of office 50 per cent of time to support productivity and well-being, be a more agile firm and balance flexibility with office-based collaboration, training etc. More
  • Linklaters: Brought in discretionary option for staff to work remotely 20 to 50 per cent of time, to be an employer of choice for working parents, advance gender equality and foster agile culture. More
  • Squire Patton Boggs: Abolishing core hours in the UK and trialling enhanced flexible working with new open-plan London office to support mobile and collaborative work with flexibility for business growth. More
  • Taylor Wessing: Responding to “clear preference” of its lawyers, staff encouraged to work remotely one day a week up to 50 per cent of time in hybrid model underpinned by collaboration, to deliver benefits for people, business and clients. More
  • Allen and Overy: Tweaked policies during lockdown to support staff balancing work, childcare and caring. More
  • Freeths: Refreshed office portfolio after successful agile working experience showed staff need not be in the office every day to provide services or ensure business growth. More
  • Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer: Phasing in a 50 per cent work-from-home policy.
  • Allen & Overy: Requires UK lawyers and staff to spend 60 per cent of time in the office after restrictions are lifted.

Find out more about using proptech for occupancy management to get the crucial data you need to inform big office real estate decisions.

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