On Wednesday, Slaughter and May surprised everyone when it launched a pilot for its 348 London and Brussels associates that would allow them to work reduced hours via a variety of options, for reduced pay. 

As a firm popularly, if not always fairly, viewed as one of the most conservative outfits in the U.K., its move to trial the scheme grabbed the attention of the legal community. Lawyers will be able to take longer breaks, or work on a project basis, cutting their hours by up to 20%.