Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Hail to the Lawyers!

Kudos to the many law firms out there acknowledging that part-time partner track is a smart way to go. As reported in today's Washington Post, eight of the Top 50 Best Law Firms for Women are in Washington, DC and another in Richmond, Va; our two primary markets.

The survey, conducted by Flex-Time Lawyers and Working Mother Magazine, measures law firms across the country across a variety of factors, including workplace profile, family-friendly benefits, compensation, and development and advancement of women. But are law firms granting part-time partner track and other family-friendly benefits out of the goodness of their hearts? No, certainly not. It just makes good business sense.

The growing majority of law school graduates are women, who then go on to be lawyers. Somewhere along the way to partner many of these women would like to have children and/or a life (some would argue you can't have both at the same time, that's still up for debate at the Folsom household). And that life just doesn't fit into a 100-hour workweek!

The notion of a part-time lawyer brings to mind that Sex and the City episode where Miranda, a new single mother at her wit's end marches into her Managing Partner's office and demands, "That's IT! Something HAS to change. I am going part-time. No more than 50 hours per week. That's my limit."

But that's exactly what many of these firms are doing to attract and retain their top talent. Patton Boggs associates, for example, can choose a partner track based on 1,650 billable hours per year rather than the typical 1,900. Pay is prorated accordingly. According to partner Mary Bosco, "It tends to attract women here and keep women here."

Which is what we here at Momentum Resources are advocating daily, across mulitple industries and job functions: part-time works because it makes solid business sense. Offer a realistic reduced-hours schedule and you will attract the best and brightest talent to your organization. It'll also keep them there.

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