Freya Summers in her home office

Nottingham lawyer credits hybrid working to return to practice

A corporate lawyer who quit the industry five years ago due to childcare pressures has credited her return to practice to a law firm’s hybrid working policy.

Freya Summers says her ‘dream’ return to the field with Wright Hassall has only been made possible due to its flexible approach to hybrid working.

Summers left practice at another law firm in 2018, having recently become a new mum at the time and seeking more flexibility from her working arrangements.

But she says the ability of her new employer to embrace work in a post-Covid world has allowed her to return, joining as a Partner in the Corporate law team.

She works one day a week in Wright Hassall’s Leamington Spa offices, and fulfils the rest of her hours whilst working from home in Nottingham, which gives her freedom to manage her workload alongside her commitments of being a mother of two.

Summers, who initially left practice to join the editorial team of Practical Law, said: “I came back because the world has changed and hybrid working is an awful lot easier now – and Wright Hassall have wholeheartedly embraced this set-up.

“My kids are at school and nursery and the set-up here means I can flex my hours and be at the school gates at 3.20pm.

“It is a real change from what I was used to in law pre-Covid, when it was still jackets on chairs until 9pm at night, and being seen to be the last person in the office.

“I was encouraged that it wasn’t like that anymore, and that Wright Hassall works differently.

“I looked at a number of firms but Wright Hassall stood out as they were really committed to help support with whatever I needed to come back to practice full time.

“It is making it easier for working parents to do the job that I think pre-Covid we wouldn’t have been able to do. I thought returning to full-time corporate law would be almost impossible, but here I am and I couldn’t be happier.”

Summers has already completed her first deal since returning, carrying out the legals on the sale of Derbyshire firm Lindsay Phillips Property Care to Hygiene Group.

She added: “I’m loving it – the first thing I said when I first walked through the doors at Wright Hassall is that I felt like I have come home.

“I didn’t want to leave practice initially but having two small children and being a corporate lawyer was quite difficult pre-Covid, and as my husband worked in an equally demanding job in corporate finance, I needed a job which was more flexible so found one working from home which I really enjoyed.

“But I wanted to return to practice and this is the kind of place where I wanted to work.

“There are not many firms around that have Wright Hassall’s ethos and history, having been going for more than 175 years. It’s nice to be somewhere where what you do matters and where your voice is taken note of.”

Summers is one of more than 230 staff at Wright Hassall, and around three quarters have the option to work in a hybrid manner.

Hybrid working enables employees to blend working from different locations: home, on the go, or in the office.

Mark Shrimpton, Chief People Officer, said: “Hybrid working is an essential part of our application process and is helping us attract a wider pool of candidates, just like Freya.

“We trust people to make decisions about what works best for them and us.

“We want the office to be a destination place where people can enjoy coming in and see the benefits, rather than just coming in as that is how it has always been done.

“People enjoy the face-to-face interaction in the office, but also working from home and finding the space to get work done.

“We’re seeing the benefits of that in our recruitment and existing workforce, with a recent Employee Survey highlighting that our hybrid and flexible working arrangements are some of the factors that they enjoy most about working at Wright Hassall.”