Complete Clarity Solicitors and Simplicity Legal in Scottish legal sector vanguard again with pioneering four-day “condensed” week for staff

02/02/2024
Billy Smith and Emma King

A PROGRESSIVE Glasgow-headquartered law firm which has a core policy that colleague wellbeing is a primary component of commercial and professional success is now pioneering a four-day week for its staff.

In a trailblazing move for the legal sector, Complete Clarity Solicitors and Simplicity Legal is currently trialling a condensed week within which staff are on station for a similar number of hours, but can take Mondays or Fridays off.

The move is likely to be controversial in a profession in which hours are traditionally long and demand-led, but it is also in tune with growing campaigns for change, which claim that a four-day week reduces burnout while also generating higher performance and profit for firms.

The firm, established by Co-Founder and Director Billy Smith 14 years ago, has created a pattern of doing things differently and has set out to attract talented people for whom work/life balance is an integral part of their professional mindset.

Co-Founder and fellow solicitor Emma King said: “We hope that by offering the condensed week as an option, we’re giving the team the maximum opportunity for achieving the best work/life balance that they can.

“We are rolling it out now and will trial it for six months. So far, response has been overwhelmingly positive. Of the 31 staff eligible to opt in to the scheme, 22 have taken up the option of joining – that’s 71% of the workforce.

“It doesn’t suit everybody, of course, but from a business perspective it also allows us to enhance client services by offering extended opening hours, and we’re now operating from 8am to 6pm Tuesday to Thursday.”

Instead of working five days a week from 9am to 5pm, staff can now work from 8am to 6pm from Tuesday to Thursday and from 8am to 5pm on either Monday or Friday, creating a full day off.

Ms King said the importance of job satisfaction was illustrated by a recent Law Society report called Profile of the Profession which revealed that 42% of lawyers had considered leaving the profession for reasons other than retirement – and 45% aspire to a better work/life balance.

Staff responses include Senior Solicitor Susan Grierson-Rattray, who said: “Having a Friday off means I don’t have to fit other commitments into my evenings. I hope to use the time to spend more time with family and get chores done to free–up my weekend.”

Associate Solicitor Kara MacGregor-Duke added: “The day off will allow me to spend time with family and take them for any shopping they need, particularly in winter weather.  It will also be a good use of time to catch up on things in the house.”

Senior Solicitor Scott Stevenson said he planned to use the time to “go to the gym, play golf and catch up with friends”, while Solicitor Morgan Perrie said: “I’m looking forward to being able to fully enjoy both days at the weekend and spend my Mondays off doing my more mundane life tasks.”

The condensed week is the latest initiative from Complete Clarity Solicitors, which also has a painstaking and non-traditional recruitment process – in the course of which, among other rigorous assessments, applicants are asked three questions and given 60 seconds to construct cogent answers.

The firm operates a rolling recruitment policy for positions – preferring to have conversations with those interested in joining the team and identifying what they can bring to the firm rather than recruiting only at a point of need.

The age profile of the firm is unusually young, with many staff in their late twenties. Complete Clarity is a firm believer in promotion from within.

Founded in 2010, Complete Clarity Solicitors also owns Simplicity Legal, which it established in 2015 with the aim of filling a gap in the market for fixed fee family law work, and merged with in 2017.

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