How to achieve work life balance in the age of hybrid working?

Author Christopher Roberts
May 3, 2023

The concept of working from the office five days a week, seems unimaginable to most newcomers into the workforce. But for those of us that remember, this was the daily reality of combining a hectic work schedule and a commute with a general social and family life.

Within the legal industry, this rigidity often meant there was a clamour from lawyers, to join law firms who either, offered flexibility, or more likely reduced hours. In the past, typically, the firms offering this, would be west end based or smaller boutiques. They had fewer target hours, combined with access to often market leading work. However, the pay off was  often a reduced salary, which for many, was worth the sacrifice, in order to ‘have a life outside of work’.  

In the post Covid era, the legal industry has seen a shift towards a more formalised hybrid working environment, where lawyers are now afforded the flexibility they once craved. Several (if not all firms) offer a flexile working policy, which consist of two or three days in the office, whilst working from home for the rest of the time. So, a reasonable question asked is:

‘Why would I move to a firm, for less money when I have the flexibility of working from home already?’

Well the simple answer is, the flexibility of working from home, doesn’t present a clear separation of the amount of time you spend doing your job compared with the amount of time you spend with your family and doing things you enjoy. For this reason, there are still a number, key reasons why a truer work life balance can still be found at these boutique firms.

Less billable/target hours – the true work life balance: Whilst flexibility now exists in the traditionally larger practices, boutique and west end firms, still offer the lowest target hours on the market. Typically, this ranges from 1300/1400 target hours, whilst some firms have no billable target hours at all! Simply put, you won’t need to pull an all-nighters and non-existent lunch breaks.

Expectations: Despite the flexibility offered, more and more Associates complain they are in fact, now working longer hours than when they were expected to be in the office five days a week. This is because, lawyers homes are now their offices and expectations have therefore increased. More accessibility is seen as more availability. These expectations are significantly lower in the west end and boutique firms, as a result of the reduced target hours.

Can you still get a work life balance in the age of hybrid working? Yes!… but only when this is matched by the firm’s ethos, expectations and environment  provided for associates. Alongside the reduced hours, the environment that these historically work life balance firms provide, allows you to take control of your career, maintaining a clear separation between work and your personal life.

For more information on the west end and boutique law firm market or to discuss your next career move contact Chris Roberts.


  • Law firm

Tax Lawyer NQ-2 PQE (September 2023 Qualifiers)

Tax Solicitor NQ-2 PQE (September 2023 Qualifiers) A leading west end law firm are recruiting for a NQ – 2 PQE Tax Lawyer to join their practice. The role will involve advising on tax issues in relation to property investment, development, finance and funds work. The team specialise in providing clear and strategic advice concerning […]
  • Posted Posted 3 weeks ago
  • Law firm

Employment Lawyer 2-3 PQE (Work Life Balance)

Employment Lawyer 2-4 PQE A leading west end law firm are recruiting for a 2-4 PQE Employment Lawyer to join their practice. As part of a new strategic hire, you will join the firm’s employment team, where you will work on a mixture of mixture of mainly non-contentious but also contentious work on offer for […]
  • Posted Posted 3 weeks ago

Restructuring & Insolvency Lawyer, 5-7 PQE

Restructuring & Insolvency Lawyer 5-7 PQE Recognised as one of the leading US (London based) law firms in the city, this practice is recruiting for a UK qualified Restructuring & Insolvency Lawyer, 5-7 PQE, to join their London office. The firm’s London office, serves as a key hub to their global offering to clients including […]
  • Posted Posted 4 weeks ago
  • Law firm

Corporate Lawyer 5+ PQE (US Law Firm) – M&A & PE

Corporate Lawyer 5+ PQE (M&A, PE and ECM) With offices throughout the U.S, Asia and in Europe, this US law firm, based in London, are recruiting for a Corporate Associate at the 5+ PQE level to join their London office. You will provide advice on a broad focus on Mergers & Acquisitions, Equity Capital Markets […]
  • Posted Posted 1 month ago

Featured Content