MORE than 100 employees at one of York’s largest law firms have gone on a four-day week due to the recession.
Solicitors and administrators are among the members of staff at Harrowells affected by the move, which started yesterday.
Partner John Yeomans said the four-day week was a “planned and prudent step,” as no one could predict with certainty when economic conditions would improve.
“It will ensure that we remain strong and well placed to respond as soon as economic conditions permit,” he said.
“Our staff are very loyal and have been understanding and supportive of the decision.’’ He stressed not all areas of the firm, which employs about 130 people, were affected, and said the position would be reviewed at the end of June, if not before.
Harrowells would continue to operate five days a week, with employees’ days off being spread through the week, and high levels of service to the firm’s clients would be maintained.
Mr Yeomans said the four-day week was an alternative to redundancies.
A source told The Press how at least one member of staff did not know how she would cope with the reduction in her income.
The source said the personal injury section was unaffected by the four-day week.
The Press understands that while other law firms elsewhere in Britain have gone on four-day weeks, Harrowell is the first in York.
Last June, as the housing slump worsened and as the firm celebrated its centenary, Harrowells announced it was axing 18 jobs, 13 in its residential property department and five in related areas.
Mr Yeomans said then that, while the proposed redundancies were regrettable, they should be seen in the longer term context of the firm creating more than 100 jobs over the previous ten years.
Two members of staff were also made redundant at the start of 2008 after Government cutbacks forced it to abandon publicly- funded criminal work.
Herbert Edward Harrowell launched the firm in Coppergate Chambers, in November 1908.
The firm, which has bases in St Saviourgate, Haxby and Clifton Moor, shortened its name just over a year ago from Harrowell Shaftoe to Harrowells and became a limited liability partnership.