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By Shane Ridley

Legal Biography Wellbeing Workplace 

Practitioners reveal how they balance the demands of their professional and personal lives. Shane Ridley, Maddocks consultant What hours do you work? A nine-day fortnight. Why do you work flexibly? Several years ago my eldest child was diagnosed with Asperger’s. My wife and I needed time to undertake therapy sessions with him so I decided to work a nine-day fortnight to give me an extra day to participate in these sessions as much as possible. In more recent years, it has enabled me to attend his school once a fortnight to volunteer at some sessions to give him (and my other children) more support. How does your organisation accommodate flexibility? Maddocks provides me with support in both a technical sense and a personal sense. From a technical point of view, we can work remotely via laptops, protected email access on our phones as well as remote access from our personal computers. Even more important, however, is the support I receive from my partners and fellow lawyers to assist on my matters as and when required when I am not in the office. What are the challenges of working flexibly? Balancing the need to be as responsive to client requirements as practicable (particularly in relation to unforeseen issues) without turning my rostered day off into a day where I am really just working from home and not achieving my personal goals for my family. These challenges have been met through the support I receive from both Maddocks and my clients. Have flexible hours kept you practising law? Yes, definitely. If I was not able to devote as much time to my family as I currently do, I would feel the pressure to pursue a different career. I am grateful that I have not had to face that choice. What are the personal benefits of working flexibly? The main benefit is being able to spend important time with my family without feeling like I am putting my career on hold or sacrificing the interests of my clients. Hopefully, it will also actually prolong my career and enable me to lead a slightly healthier lifestyle. Will you work flexibly long term? Yes, definitely. I cannot see myself returning to full-time work in the foreseeable future. At the moment it feels as though I am getting the work-life balance right.

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