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Ashurst Ushers in 50-Hour Week Benchmark for Partners
Ashurst has upped the number of hours partners must commit to the firm, with all partners now formally obliged to carry out at least 50 hours of firm-related work each week.
Partners must spend the equivalent of 10 hours each weekday on either billable client work or other firm-related activities -- over 40 percent more than was previously required.
The quota, which is measured on time sheets, is significantly higher than the 35-hour minimum weekly requirement previously in place. Activities such as knowledge management, business development and management activities count towards the tally, which was changed at the end of last year following an announcement by senior partner Charlie Geffen during the firm's November partner conference.
Geffen commented: "This is an attempt to set a clear standard among partners -- it is important that they set a positive example for all lawyers and non-lawyers across the firm."
Separately, Ashurst is set to introduce a new flexible working strategy after setting up a new group to come up with suggestions. The committee, which is being chaired by litigation partner Ed Sparrow and global head of corporate Stephen Lloyd, is expected to report back to management within the next six months.
The new strategy will not be gender-specific but is also intended to help retain female staff. It comes in the wake of the departure of several female lawyers, including former structured finance head Erica Handling to Barclays Capital.
Geffen added: "People used to think that recruiting 50 percent women at entry level would eventually trickle through to the more senior positions, but this strategy has not worked.
"We want to engage the whole organization so that people throughout the firm embrace and take ownership of the changes that we need to make."