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Published: 20 Jun 2023

A City Law Firm – Finalist 2023, Best small employer

A City Law Firm has nurtured a people-first environment that is both beneficial to employees and is acts as an example to others, the success of which is evident in high staff retention.  

Flexible working 

Flexible working is seen as both empowering women to progress in their careers and encouraging equality in parenting by enabling men to be more involved. All staff are entitled to work flexibly from day one, and induction includes how to remote work effectively. Working patterns are individualised to suit personal need with fully flexible hours available, as well as condensed hours and job shares. Directors model hybrid working, which is available to all. Employees with young children are permitted to work fully remotely. Managers receive training on managing flexible workers, and technology supports paperless and remote working. Systems are set up to facilitate collaboration when not working at the same time or in the same location including access to work schedules and client folders and policies on how to record and address matters that arise, and share information.  

Departments can work remotely via Teams and the reminder and face to face systems that brings. 

Family-friendly policies  

Maternity leave is enhanced, which is matched with shared parental leave. Paternity or partner leave is fully paid. Phased returns are available for those on maternity leave, who come back to the same position with the same clients. Support for menopause, miscarriage, divorce and fertility is available and is widely publicised. The level of support is exceptional. Following a staff member’s partner suffering a cancer relapse, the organisation funded a retreat and a monthly training course to build confidence.  

The welfare of staff is recognised as being paramount, with encouragement of the whole team working from home on Fridays, accessible information on fertility and menopause issues, as well as phased returns after maternity leave when needed. 

Role models 

A City Law Firm is female-led, and all directors are mothers who are living proof of managing the juggle without impacting on their career growth, the ability to scale departments and invest in training others. They have had phased returns from maternity leave and utilise flexibility taking time off for their children. A conscious effort is made to promote their support for flexible working and share their ways of working with clients in the hope it will encourage others to do the same.  

The female directors understand the value of staff is not measured by the time spent at desks and how flexibility can result in loyalty and a great employer-employee dynamic. 

It also assists junior colleagues seeing that the senior colleagues are providing an ethos of balance rather than a career or family pathway.  

Staff retention 

A City Law Firm are rightly proud of their ability to retain staff by having a family-friendly approach that works around individual life choices, for example accommodating those who want to have a career break to have children or travel, or reduce their hours to care for children. They have avoided the disruption and hiring costs of high staff turnover by facilitating different working patterns, such as employing people who live abroad that bring exceptional talent. This loyalty has seen staff return after periods of leave and/or gaps in their career progression. 

As a smaller employer, recruiting and retaining the right employees is so key to keeping our clients’ happy.  Employees who feel heard and accommodated where necessary and where possible, create calm and productive working environments which builds strong client relations and works well for not only the senior and junior staff but also the consultants and clients that we work with.  

Graphic for the Best small employer category of the Working Families Best practice Awards