updated on 02 June 2021
The Law Society of England and Wales has published new guidance on trainee support, after a rise in law firms introducing flexible working policies. In recent months multiple firms have announced plans to allow staff to work from home up to 50% of the time, or other kinds of ‘hybrid model’ after the success of doing so under covid-19 regulations. The guidance sets out recommendations to ensure staff, particularly junior staff, are properly supervised and supported when working remotely.
Advice includes senior and junior staff having overlapping days in the office, how to ensure opportunities for development and setting up support networks to maintain staff’s wellbeing. It encourages supervisors to consider “how to share their thinking” and to maintain the boundaries between home and work life as far as can be done.
However, The Law Society does specify that these are not requirements and that “firms and organisations should interpret these as is most appropriate for their business” which will “likely look different depending on the size of firm and type of work undertaken.” As far as regulatory requirements are concerned, firms remain “accountable for the decisions they make on trainee supervision, and any arrangements must align to the SRA’s overall approach to enforcement.”