More Linklaters associates have signed up for the firm’s 40-hour week alternative career path, which allows the firm’s Germany-based lawyers to work a standard 40-hour week with reduced pay.

Three more associates have joined the “YourLink” scheme since November 2017, when nine opted for that career path

The scheme, which is unique to Linklaters’ German offices, launched in May 2017, and offers lawyers in the Magic Circle firm’s Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf and Hamburg bases the option to work 40-hour weeks for reduced pay to provide a better work/life balance.

The market for lawyers in Germany is particularly competitive, and the unusual model was designed to attract more lawyers.

First-year associates on the 40-hour deal are paid €80,000 ($90,971), compared with €120,000 ($136,457) for those receiving the firm’s standard pay package. Those signing up for the scheme are not eligible for partnership, although it is possible to become a managing associate or counsel.

Pay increases are also much flatter year-on-year, and bonuses are significantly smaller for those on the scheme than that of their colleagues.

Linklaters Germany HR head Thomas Schmidt previously said he expected 10 percent to 20 percent of the firm’s associates in Germany to eventually move to the alternative contract. 

The model is touted as giving Linklaters an advantage in the competitive German recruitment market, as it will help the firm recruit or retain lawyers who would otherwise look for less demanding roles outside of private practice.

The competition to recruit lawyers is particularly fierce in Germany, where it can take at least seven years to qualify as a lawyer, reducing the potential talent pool.