Magic Circle law firm Slaughter and May is set to let its lawyers log out of their emails after 10pm in a bid to prevent “unnecessary incursions” on its employees’ work-life balances.
However, lawyers at the elite London firm must still be “reachable by phone” and may still be required to check emails past 10pm if they’re working on urgent matters, internal documents seen by the Financial Times show.
The memo, which says Slaughter and May’s lawyers will not be required to check emails between 10pm and 8am, puts forward a series of reforms to improve work-life balance at one of the world’s most prestigious law firms.
It says lawyers will be allowed to turn their cameras off after 8pm and that they will not be required to check emails more than a couple of times each day on the weekends – unless work requires them to do so.
Slaughter and May’s senior partner Steve Cooke said the necessity for a new approach became clear after “the unnecessary incursions people were experiencing into their downtime periods” became more pronounced during Covid-19.
The law firm’s new code “attempts to rectify that with some simple principles,” Steve Cooke said.
Slaughter and May’s new code comes as part of a series of reforms aimed at improving pay and working conditions, that has seen the law firm vow to pay out bonuses twice a year and up salaries for newly-qualified lawyers from £107,500 to £115,000 per annum.