Article: Part Time Working the Bar

Article: Part Time Working the Bar

This article from Siân Waldron has been published because we want to demonstrate the progressive and inclusive way that we support and promote all tenants at KCH Garden Square who are practising part-time or flexibly.

We are currently recruiting barristers at all levels of call, and we ask anyone considering a change of chambers to apply to us. All applications are treated confidentially and discreetly.

At KCH Garden Square, we appreciate that tenants may seek to work part-time for a variety of reasons; caring responsibilities, working as a part-time member of the judiciary or teaching in a law school, or maximising work-life balance. This list is not exhaustive and we pride ourselves on our ability to support all tenants who seek to practise part-time, for whatever reason.

We recognise that there are many benefits to supporting part-time or flexible practices, including the retention of skilled and talented tenants, increasing diversity at the Bar, and reducing the gender and social imbalance often seen amongst senior members of the profession and judiciary.

What does it mean to work part-time at the Bar? It does not mean that you are part-committed, part-talented, or part-ambitious. It simply means less days/hours. We have several part-time tenants and their practices are thriving. To provide examples, we currently have three team members who have recently returned from parental leave or who have young families to care for. They all work a few days a week, but are still progressing their careers through:
– involvement in significant cases such as multi-day High Court contests, fact find hearings, and appeals in public and private family law;
– retaining their rankings within publications such as Chambers & Partners and Legal 500;
– nominations for Circuit awards.

How do we support and promote part-time tenants? We do this in a variety of ways, including:
– Having progressive policies which go above and beyond our legal requirements. For example, our parental leave policy generously provides for a rent holiday during parental leave and a commission holiday for 6 months after the return to work;
– Having a professional clerking team who understand each tenant’s area of specialism and work hard to promote their practice, whilst simultaneously respecting their part-time hours and commitments outside of work;
– Having a dedicated practice development committee, which functions to ensure that every tenant is developing their practice as they seek to. This includes providing practical support and guidance with judicial appointment applications, applications for professional rankings, and attending training events;
– Having a dedicated wellbeing policy, and a wellbeing officer who strives to ensure that work/life balance is taken seriously by all;
– We are a collegiate and friendly team and all tenants support each other. This has been invaluable to those returning to work after a career break. We may be self-employed but we are never alone if we need guidance on a case or help with a specific issue.

Our aim is to encourage and support every tenant to fulfil their potential, whether they are working full-time or part-time. We are currently fulfilling that aim with our current tenants, but we would love to welcome new members to our developing and ambitious team. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you would like to discuss your options, or seek to apply.

Siân Waldron

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