Maternity Leave? We can help!
When a key member of your legal team is due to go on maternity leave (or parental leave) there’s often a bit of a panic to find the right cover. Here at Stephenson Law it’s one of our favourite services and our retainer model works perfectly to give you complete flexibility, tailoring the cover to meet the needs of the business.
How it works
We will dedicate 2 key contacts to you. While one of us will be your main contact, having two people means you don’t need to worry about holiday or sickness cover. In addition, behind each person is the whole SL team, so you will also benefit from our full range of expertise.
You decide how many days you think you will need each week, we convert this into hours that you can tap into throughout the month. This means we‘re available to you every day, but you only pay for what you need. We generally recommend allowing extra time in the first month to allow for the handover and flurry of work that tends to follow.
Do you want regular onsite days? We can do that too. While we have found that remote working is more efficient, we recognise the importance of onsite presence for many of our clients and will typically spend a day a week onsite to build and maintain relationships and give your business easy access to legal support.
Preparing for cover
For a mum-to-be it can feel a bit daunting when you’re handing over your entire workload to someone you’ve only met once or twice before. There’s usually a sense that you need to get as much done as possible before you go but this can put unnecessary pressure on you during your final weeks in the office.
The reality is that we’ve gotten very used to picking things up and are great at working out what’s left to do. Rather than panicking to get things done, the most useful thing for us is having a list of outstanding tasks, with key stakeholder details. What form that comes in really doesn’t matter.
“My most recent cover prepared a spreadsheet with full details and status of each piece of work in progress – this was ideal to help me navigate and prioritise. Others have put together a handover workbook with lists of the people to contact. Either way, I will find my way around and get the information I need from the key stakeholders so don’t worry about what your handover sheet looks like.” – Charlotte Holgate, maternity cover rock star!
Ideally, we’ll start the handover 2-4 weeks before your leave starts (if baby sticks to the schedule!). We’ll be onsite for as many days as you think we need (usually 1-2 are sufficient). The main objective is to meet the team, learn more about what’s currently going on and to be introduced to key people in the business. We can also run through any outstanding work to get a few more notes.
If leave happens a bit more suddenly, the main thing is making sure we have access to what we need. From there, we can work out the rest.
Speaking of access
One thing that often gets forgotten about is the IT stuff. There’s no set way, but we will need to have access to shared drives, systems and emails. This usually means setting us up with an email address and making sure we have the necessary logins and access permissions.
Many clients provide us with a laptop so we can access their networks remotely and get stuck in directly with the business. Others will forward matters on to us manually and manage our workload a little more closely. Either way works for us.
Business as Usual
We’ll soon find our rhythm and get a feel for the workloads. One of the best things about our retainer is that you can flex up or down at the start of each month, so we can adapt to the ebbs and flows of the work and ensure that you only pay for the time you need.
Within no time at all, we’re part of the team and getting on with the work!
“We engaged Stephenson Law in respect of a full-time maternity cover. They were flexible in their approach, offering 2 lawyers at differing levels of experience to provide the cover. They immediately submersed themselves into our business and culture, acting as an extension of our internal EMEA legal team. They worked incredibly hard and acted as true business partners directly to our sales and support functions. They are friendly, approachable and above all could always be counted on to retain a sense of humour.”
Jen Kitson, Associate General Counsel, JDA
For more information about how our inhouse counsel retainer could support your legal team, please email Michelle at firstname.lastname@example.org.