Winslow Homer, Children on the Beach (1873)

There has been considerable discussion recently about whether a four-day work week promotes greater individual and group productivity.

Some of this appears to be relevant to law firms.

What would your law firm have to do to move to a four-day work week?

The most probable scenario for a four-day work week in a law firm would involve a fee earner being physically (or, in some cases, virtually) "in the office" for four ten-hour work days.  Of course, the urgent "after hours" needs of clients could cut into the three "off" days, as it does now.  Moreover, most lawyers would probably still work significantly more than 40 hours per week.

Despite these limitations, there are several interesting aspects that might be long-term benefits for most law firms. For example:

  • The four-day week would promote a more team-based approach to client service, as other fee earners would need to be able to respond fully to a client's requirements that arise during the principal lawyer's "day off." Client teams, if managed well, can produce greater opportunities for multiple contacts with a client, which in turn can support a level of responsivness throughout the work week that builds client satisfaction and loyalty.
  •  A firm could be able to offer "office hours" on the weekend, which might produce a good return on the investment of additional costs to keep the office open and operational six days per week, instead of the usual five.
  •  The four-day work week can support a better "work-life balance." which could be a significant recruiting and retention advantage.
  • The benefits do not appear to be limited to large firms. Although large firms probably would have more flexibility, many midsize firms and even relatively small ones -- with as few as five lawyers -- possibly could go to a four-day work week.

Before you dismiss the four-day work week out of hand, consider some of the recent discussions in the business press.  Here are a few examples:

Norman Clark

Interested? Walker Clark can facilitate a one-day investigation of the advantages and risks of a four-day work week for your law firm, as well as help you set up and manage a pilot project that will diagnose and address the implementation issues under real-world conditions. For more information, contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..