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International firm rolls out ‘full-agility’ work platform

An international law firm has marked the opening of its new Melbourne office by implementing a fully agile working model for all employees.

user iconEmma Musgrave 25 May 2018 Big Law
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Pinsent Masons has revealed its new Melbourne office will operate under a complete agile model, giving its lawyers the ability to choose where, when and how they work.

Agile working is described as a way of getting work done with maximum flexibility and minimum constraints.

In announcing the news, Pinsent Masons said it has demonstrated its commitment to “activity-based work practices that drive innovation in legal services”.

 
 

“As work becomes an activity rather than a place, firms need to be able to match these changing needs, and we’re proud to be the first international law firm to offer a completely agile workspace in Australia,” said David Rennick, head of Pinsent Masons in Australia.

A statement by the firm confirms that the new office space at Level 30, 360 Collins Street, features a completely open floor plan, with no permanently allocated desks. The space has been designed to foster increased collaboration and productivity, with “quiet rooms” available to individuals requiring privacy, the firm said.

“Climbing the law career ladder has always meant striving to net the coveted corner office with the mahogany desk. This mindset needs to be relegated to the past, and our new offices are a very real commitment to doing so,” Mr Rennick said.

“One of the reasons law firms have struggled to adopt these new ways of working has been a focus on office presence, or presenteeism, so we ensured we were well-prepared to deal with any ‘agility anxiety’ that might arise with the transformation in working style.”

Mr Rennick added that giving lawyers the ability to choose where, when and how they work has challenged the firm’s culture.

“We’ve been challenging our staff to shift their focus to meeting individual, legal practice and firm goals, and have seen an increase in productivity since this change was introduced,” he said.

“I’m proud of the way the team has stepped up to this challenge.

“Through new thinking and challenging the existing ways of working, we’ve created an office space that is somewhere our staff want to be,” concluded Mr Rennick.

One of the sessions at last year’s Future Forum discussed the agile working, and how both in-house legal teams and those in private practice can leverage these methodologies to improve workflow.

Speakers Frances Dunn, senior legal counsel at Netwealth Investments Ltd and Petra Stirling, head of legal capability and transformation at Gilbert + Tobin spoke about how agile working creates a culture of trust and furthers team bonding, makes lawyers more accountable and visible, and removes the hierarchical nature of law firms and organisations at large.

At the same event, Tim Frost, partner at PwC, spoke about how agility in legal services is more than just the application of technology.