Clifford Chance pilots programme of unpaid leave for personal interests

Laura-King Clifford Chance

International law firm Clifford Chance is piloting a new unpaid leave scheme, enabling its associates and senior associates in certain territories to take two months of unpaid leave to pursue personal goals and interests.

The new framework, Clifford Chance Choice, aims to embrace the changing world of work and give employees the opportunity to take time away from the workplace. The scheme also contributes to the firm’s attraction and retention approach.

The pilot, implemented in March 2019, will enable associates and senior associates based in Spain, Italy and Istanbul, as well as associates and senior associates within the finance, capital markets and technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) practices in London, to apply for two months of unpaid leave during the 2019-2020 financial year. Eligible staff are not required to disclose the reason for taking the leave.

Leave will be approved based on other scheduled staff absences and predicted workloads. Therefore, requests are less likely to be granted during busy business periods or if more than one team member asks for the same dates.

Clifford Chance anticipates that the two months of leave will be taken as a continuous block.

As part of an external initiative, former Clifford Chance employees will be able to apply to re-join the organisation for specific project work, with the ability to work flexibly or from home where possible.

Laura King (pictured), partner and global head of people and talent, said: “Clifford Chance prides itself on providing the best advice to clients on their most complex and critical work. People are our most valuable asset and we work hard to attract and develop the brightest and the best. And, with over 8,000 registered alumni working in over 3,000 organisations across 100 different countries, our alumni bring a wealth of experience and insights in every sector and region of the globe.

“Clifford Chance Choice is about embracing changes to the world of work. It gives our people the choice to excel in work but also pursue other interests. It gives our alumni the choice to remain a part of the Clifford Chance family after they move on to other things, and it gives our clients the choice of a wider and flexible pool of motivated, brilliant lawyers.”