Wednesday, August 22, 2007

 

New Information at The Scoop: What it is Really Like to Work Part-Time in Firms

We've had a busy summer at PAR. Joan and Cynthia have been writing and making speeches, we're in the midst of planning the first of what we hope will be annual PAR conferences for next May in DC, we've been consulting with lawyers and law firms about retention issues, and we're updating the gossip section of the PAR website: The Scoop.

The Scoop has information about part-time work at large law firms. It contains factual information about the firms' part-time policies, gathered from the firms and elsewhere, and also contains comments from attorneys who work or have worked at the firms. We have also thrown in a few comments ourselves here and there about aspects of the firms' policies that we like or dislike.

The Scoop is designed to help law students and laterals make informed decisions when they are choosing legal employers. It is also designed to bridge the communication gap that we found exists in some firms between management and attorneys about how part-time policies are working. Finally, it is designed to let law firms see how programs are set up at other firms so they can measure their own performance and perhaps make some adjustments.

In updating The Scoop, we've seen a few trends. First, in a dramatic change from just seven to eight years ago, almost all large law firms now allow attorneys who reduce their hours to remain on the partnership track and most have in fact actually made part-time attorneys partner. Second, and also dramatic, many more men are working part-time than ever before. The presence of male part-timers is usually a good sign that a firm's part-time program is usable (i.e., not a professional kiss of death). Third, we are seeing more firms giving part-timers full benefits. Fourth, we are seeing more firms adopting one of PAR's best practices, which is appointing a balanced hours coordinator (or part-time coordinator).

If you work in a law firm, we would appreciate receiving comments from you about what it is like to work reduced hours at your firm. If your firm isn't yet listed and you have something to say, let us know and we'll add it. We are looking for comments from all attorneys, male or female, associate/partner/counsel, whether based on personal experience or observation. Also, we are interested in all information, whether positive, negative, or otherwise. All comments are kept anonymous (although we do try to confirm that the person commenting actually did work at the firm).

The Scoop will be a useful tool only if we have your participation. Please take a couple of minutes right now to send a comment to Scoop at pardc dot org. Many thanks!

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