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Flexibility: Work in progress

Every Issue

Cite as: July 2015 89 (7) LIJ, p.82

Practitioners reveal how they balance the demands of their professional and personal lives.

Sam Pandya

Founder and managing partner, OpusRed
What hours do you work and where?

Whenever and wherever my clients or my kids need me.

Why do you work flexibly?

I want maximum control over my life, to reflect what is important to me. As a dad of three young children (7, 5, 2). I want to be a major part of their lives. Running my own practice OpusRed allows me to do that.

How does your organisation accommodate flexibility?

OpusRed’s lawyers work as a flexible team. We understand people have a personal life and instead of resisting or ignoring it, we embrace it. We trust and support our lawyers to complete the work on time, and recognise it does not have to be done 9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday. Technology allows us to work anytime, anywhere. Our lawyers love the autonomy and are free to use their time as they wish.

What are the challenges of working flexibly?

Running my own practice has eliminated many of the common challenges of working flexibly. Technology allows me to work when and where I want. However, for lawyers in many firms, unconscious bias can be a challenge. While many law firms have policies in place for flexible working, there remains an underlying bias against lawyers who use them (both men and women). Many lawyers are afraid to request flexibility as this may suggest a lack of commitment. This attitude needs to change and, in my view, encouraging and supporting more men to work flexibly is the key.

Have flexible hours kept you practising law?

Absolutely, but I found that I needed to start my own practice to achieve this. I didn’t want to choose between my career and my family and, in a modern society, I shouldn’t have to.

What are the personal benefits of working flexibly?

Flexible working has made me fall in love with the law again. I now have even stronger relationships with my kids, my wife and my clients. I feel that I am more in control of my life and my career, which supports my mental wellbeing. The work can be stressful at times, but having the freedom to take the kids to the park after school helps me to refocus on my clients’ work.

Will you work flexibly long term?

Yes. OpusRed supports flexible working for men and women. We will continue to help lawyers have a personal life and a satisfying and sustainable career.

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