A Slaughter and May associate selects appropriate attire to wfh

Slaughter and May has announced that its staff will be allowed to work remotely for up to 40% of their time.

The elite Magic Circle firm's wfh policy for its London and Brussels staff is set to take effect from 6 September, subject to government guidance. The firm will allow trainees and new joiners to work remotely for up to 20% of their time.

“After listening carefully to views from across the firm and from our clients, we are confident that this approach properly balances the interests of our people and delivery of the highest levels of client service,” said Slaughter and May executive partner Paul Stacey.

A number of Slaughter and May staff criticised the firm for its response during the pandemic, complaining that the firm provided poor support for remote working. The firm's new wfh policy might be a step in the right direction, but it remains to be seen how it pans out with staff.

Slaughter and May's decision to allow staff to work remotely for 40% of the time mirrors the approach taken by Allen & Overy. Fellow Magic Circle firms, Clifford ChanceLinklaters and Freshfields announced that staff can split their time 50/50 between the office and home.

While other City firms have also offered staff a 50/50 split between the office and home, DAC Beachcroft and Irwin Mitchell have opted for the most flexible approach by giving staff the power to decide where, when and how they work. 

Slaughter and May is also the latest firm to offer a 'Covid' bonus to thank staff, by giving them a one-off payment of 5% of their salary . "This is in recognition of everybody’s hard work and considerable efforts over the course of the pandemic,” said a spokesman for the firm.

In other Covid bonus news, Pinsent Masons said it has "supercharged" its bonus pot to £13.7m "double its usual size, in recognition of the breadth of hard work and dedication made across the business". The firm is also giving staff an additional £500 as a thank you payment.

"I'm immensely proud of the team spirit that colleagues have demonstrated throughout such a demanding year," said Richard Foley, senior partner at Pinsent Masons. He added "it is only right that the business has sought to ensure they get the recognition they deserve."

Clyde & Co is thanking its staff with an extra bonus of 3% of their salary, with a minimum payment of £1,000, meaning that a number will receive more than 3%. “The response of our people to the pandemic and all of the personal and professional pressures that came with it was extraordinary," said Matthew Kelsall, Clyde & Co’s Chief Executive Officer. "We’re pleased to be able to recognise everyone’s contribution and say thank you through this bonus.”

Meanwhile, CMS is paying staff a 'Covid' bonus of 5% of salary. Other firms to have offered a 5% bonus include: A&O, Clifford Chance, Herbert Smith Freehills, LinklatersHogan Lovells, Taylor Wessing, and Osborne Clarke. While Shoosmiths gifted an additional 7.7% of salary to staff. Some firms have offered set bonuses, such as Addleshaw Goddard (£1,500), Ashurst (£1,000) and Bird & Bird (£1,000). DLA Piper let its staff choose between an extra week of pay or holiday. 

At the golden end of the scale, a number of US firms, such as Morrison & Foerster and Akin Gump, have sprayed the cash with Covid bonuses of thousands of pounds.

Tip Off ROF


Anon 28 May 21 09:57

@Cynic. Why do people continue to spout this nonsense? Slaughters has the most relaxed, flexible working environment of all the magic circle firms (FF a close second). More than half of associates will be out of the office by 7pm on an average day.

Anonymagic 28 May 21 11:21

I am genuinely curious as to how such a prestigious institution does not pay higher salaries. Their PEP is supposedly higher of most US firms in London, yet their pay is not even on par with SC and mid-tier shops. Can anyone please explain how this is possible and how they are not suffering any associate exodus as a result of it? Incredible to me! Is the work environment really that good?

Anon 28 May 21 14:36

The pay is broadly on a par with MC firms, and the best  partners do cutting edge work.  The firm still has a stellar reputation from yesteryear and trades off that.  It’s an enigma as no one knows much about it.  The vast majority of people do a few years there, get it on their cv, get some good experience, then leverage it for more money and progression elsewhere.  Everyone knows your chances of partnership are virtually nil. 

~2PQE 01 June 21 13:02

Anon 28 May, 09:57, I can tell you that on an average day, about half of the associates are still working at 22:00. 19:00 is an early finish and you might manage it about once a week if you're lucky. 



Anonymous 02 June 21 12:05

All the MC firms benchmark pay and conditions against one another.  Total nonsense to say SC and mid-tier firms pay more than Slaughters.

US firms pay more for a reason.

Anon 02 June 21 17:24

Agree.  In my time there 7pm finishes were the exception in most departments, although if you had just come off an intense period of work or had dinner plans now and then you could do it if you planned things properly, and it also depended on your seniority.  The firm wasn’t unreasonable and different departments had different cultures.    Trainees and juniors would have very little control over workload and it was expected to finish a task before you left and certainly not to leave before your supervisor, who was normally very busy most of the time.   Most people there were very hardworking and conscientious anyway, and were involved often in work where the client expected a quick turnaround.  In some groups, eg corporate or financing, half the floors would be busy in the early hours of the morning regularly.   So no, most associates don’t leave at 7.  And if they did, it was normally to log on at home.  

Anonymous 04 June 21 09:27

I worked at S+M as a para pre TC about a decade ago and it was a pretty nice place to work.  Hours didn’t seem too brutal for the associates but this was in the middle of the GFC. 

The head of group took me out for a nice boozy lunch on my last day in the team which I can’t see happening in too many places.

After I completed my TC at a regional I did a two year stint in another MC firm which was pretty brutal by comparison in terms of hours and personalities.

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