“With everything currently going on in the world, it is nice to know I can spend more time with my young family and still enjoy my work as a lawyer.”

That is just one reason given by a Magic Circle solicitor as to why he wishes to work smarter, on a more flexible basis. There are many more reasons – almost as many as the hundreds of UK lawyers who make that decision every year. The good news for smart-working lawyers such as these is there is an ever-increasing number of law firms that realise the benefits of a flexible workforce.

Parents – a Case Study

One UK qualified lawyer, working for a US Firm in London, reached a point in her life where she wanted greater flexibility. In fact, she was looking to maintain legal work of the highest quality, whilst working around her two young children (with school hours, a short week, and some homeworking). This was not possible with her current law firm, and she found herself impossibly torn between wanting to be present for her family, and desiring the fulfilment of the career she had worked for, and in which she had excelled.

This is far from the only story of its nature that we have heard. Across the UK, working parents are having to try to make awful decisions such as these, factoring in being available for children’s early years, the logistics of school runs, and ensuring children have someone to come home to once school is over.

Female lawyers are still having to wrestle with the archaic decision of family or career, with male lawyers similarly still expected to bill the same number of hours despite the pull of a family missing them at home.

It is for these reasons that we have seen a huge rise in the desire to work flexibly. Technology and some smart thinking mean these decisions are now increasingly becoming a thing of the past. Mothers and fathers can raise children without giving up or compromising their legal career.

The reason we designed the SmartAgile® model here at Espero is to allow both law firms and lawyers to make a Smart decision by applying the team where it is needed, when it is needed and for as long as it is needed. Once configured and set up, the SmartAgile® team sits alongside its host law firm in a symbiotic exchange. For the lawyers who together form the team, the benefit is the flexibility they wish to enjoy, without having to compromise on the quality of the work they undertake. The obvious benefit for the law firm is the extension of their service offering without any erosion in the quality of the team they field to clients. In fact, several smaller or medium-sized law firms have incorporated SmartAgile® teams that enhance the quality of the lawyers on offer to clients of those firms.

Once our unsure female lawyer joined a newly established SmartAgile® team she began working with a high quality, medium-sized law firm in London which itself has fully embraced the benefits of flexibility across all levels of its partnership and staff.

Flexibility – whatever the reason that triggers it, is a growing trend among lawyers of all ages and callings – with many hundreds wanting more balance in their own lives each year.

To allow this virtuous circle to endure, many more Magic Circle and lawyers from other top quality legal backgrounds, at all levels, are taking the decision to work smarter.

Next time, we will be looking more closely at how the SmartAgile® model benefits law firms themselves. In the meantime, if you would like to discuss anything in this article further, please contact the author –  Simon Chadwick, Chief Executive of Espero Consulting by telephone on +44 845 241 2127 or by email at simon.chadwick@esperoconsulting.com