Last month, the Women in IP group held their annual panel discussion and networking event. Today's blog article has kindly been written by Meg Booth, trainee patent attorney at Appleyard Lees, and is a report from the event. Appleyard Lees is one of our Charter signatories.
Meg writes: "On 22nd November 2018, the Women in IP group held its third annual panel discussion. This year’s meeting was dedicated to an exploration of the concept of flexible working and was hosted at Gowling WLG, London. The event was over subscribed and more than 100 people from various backgrounds within the IP profession were in attendance. As well as raising thought-provoking points of view, there were also some very practical tips on how to go about requesting flexible working.
After a short introduction by the co-chairs of Women in IP, Barbara Fleck (Partner at Appleyard Lees) and Joanna Conway (Of Counsel, Norton Rose Fulbright), chair Alexandra Brodie (Partner at Gowling WLG) introduced the panel. From an employment lawyer to a keen traveler, each member of the panel was able to bring their own unique insight into working flexibly. The panel included HHJ Melissa Clark (Senior Circuit Judge), Vicki McKinney (Senior Patent Attorney, Shell International LTD), Heather Lane (Partner, GJE), Anna Fletcher (Director, Gowling WLG) and Ben Hoyle (Director, Hoyle IP).
Flexible working challenges the traditional working day (i.e. 9-5, Monday to Friday) and allows employees to adopt a working lifestyle that can benefit both the employee and employer. It was clear from the discussions that various different models for flexible working exist, such as compressed hours, working part-time, flexi-time (allowing an employee to choose their own working hours within agreed ‘core hours’) and working from home. Also, the reasons for flexible working are diverse.
Today's blog article has been provided by May Worvill, Graduate Resourcing Manager at Bristows LLP. Bristows LLP is one of our Charter signatories.
May writes: "At Bristows, we believe inclusion initiatives should, by definition, encompass everyone who works at the firm rather than just target groups with specific protected characteristics. This attitude has pervaded the firm’s discussions on the implementation of a new agile working policy and has had a profound impact for me personally.
I’m the Graduate Resourcing Manager at the firm, but I’m also a military wife and in November last year I found out that my husband was being posted to Germany for two years from the start of 2017. I made the decision to move with him and thought that this would mean resigning from my role at Bristows; not something I was keen to do. With regret, I approached my manager (the Head of HR) and also the partner I report in to, to let them know my situation. I openly asked if there was any way that I could continue working at the firm, fully expecting a response of “we’re sorry, but no”. But, this is not what I heard back from either of them. Instead to my delight, “Well why can’t you just work remotely?” was the response.