Monday, January 08, 2007


Flextime for the Rest of Us

A recent article in the NY TImes, "Flextime for the Rest of Us," features P.J. Himmelfarb, one of the two Weil Gotshal flex-time partners. Ms. Himmelfarb joined Weil 4 years ago after one of her twin daughters was diagnosed with autism. From the beginning, she worked a flexible schedule which included moving around the country to seek new therapies for her daughter. Her work patterns were different on a daily basis and she had her calls forwarded to her cell phone.

Although the article mentions that she worked part-time, it's unclear to us whether the author was using the terms flex-time and part-time interchangeably, if Himmelfarb was in fact working a reduced AND flexible schedule, or if flex-time was considered part-time at the firm. In any event, when Ms. Himmelfarb appeared to be "'working harder than [the firm had] been paying [her],'" the firm came to her and gave her the difference in salary.

The article also mentions the following statistics: Greenberg Traurig (Miami office) just elected its first flex-time associate to partner while she was on maternity leave. Sidley Austin (Chicago office) -- 83 female attorneys work a reduced schedule; 22 are partners . Judge L. Randall Weisberg (a man) & Judge Julia Philbrook (a woman), both criminal court judges in Portland OR, job-share in the Multnomah County Circuit Court with each working every other week for half pay and nearly full benefits.

Do you work a reduced and/or flexible schedule? Would you consider sharing your arrangement on the PAR Forum? Often we hear from attorneys who would like to work a reduced or flexible schedule but who need guidance in creating their proposal. Please take a moment to post a few details about your flexible schedule so that other attorneys can benefit from your experience.

Natalie and Heather

I am part time (60%) at Sidley's NY Office. It's flexible in that I don't work specific hours. I schedule work according to client/colleague needs as well as my own needs. I have never inquired into partnership because I don't want the additional time burden that comes with being a junior partner. The firm respects the arrangement (I don't squeeze full time hours into part time) and I'm not considered a second class citizen. It's the best.

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