Q1. What was the main factor that lead you to apply for flexible working?
Lauren: I was returning from maternity leave, having had quite an unusual period off - my daughter spent 9 of her first 12 months at Edinburgh's Sick Kids hospital and I spent most of my maternity leave in hospital with her. I was very keen to come back to work, but wanted to find a balance between being a transactional banking lawyer, spending time with her and also catering for her medical needs, which are ongoing. For me, an application for flexible working wasn't just about juggling parenthood with career progression - it was necessary.
Q2. Have there been any benefit of flexible working that has surprised you?
Lauren: I've been very lucky in that Morton Fraser have given me a bespoke return to work package, largely due to my unusual circumstances. Amongst other things, I work from home every Tuesday morning and find that I can juggle the vast number of hospital appointments my daughter needs to attend with the ongoing demands of transactional client work.
Q3. How easy has it been to adapt to a work life balance?
Lauren: for me that is definitely still a work in progress! Whilst I work flexibly and take advantage of our agile working policy, I still work 4.5 days a week so I still have the demands of an (almost) full time work load. As a purely transactional banking lawyer, it can be difficult to find a proper work/life balance at times, particularly as deals near completion - deals don't just stop progressing because fee earners are out of the office. Clients still deserve a proper service, regardless of our working arrangements.
Q4. What are the benefits of flexible working to you and your workplace.
Lauren: for me personally, flexible working gives me the opportunity to strike a better balance between the various demands of my workload and my personal life, even if I don't always get that balance right. I can be a mother, doctor, nurse and lawyer all in one day, without ever feeling I'm neglecting any of those responsibilities in favour of others. For the workplace, the team knows I'm always contactable and will always step in to help with deals or answer questions if they need me out with my contracted working hours. Junior lawyers in the team have definitely been given exposure to more complex work when I'm not around and that can only ever be a good thing in terms of the development of the talent we have here at MF.