Saturday, August 07, 2010

 

Do In-House Lawyers Have Better Work/Life Balance?

PAR released its groundbreaking study on work/life balance for in-house attorneys, Better on Balance? The Corporate Counsel Work/Life Report, back in 2003. That report focused on the defining the types of work schedules that in-house attorneys use successfully to find work/life balance, offering best practices, and testing the perception of many law firm partners that corporate counsel would not want to work with law firm attorneys who were working part-time.

In the report, we found that full time in-house often meant a 50-hour workweek and that many attorneys found balance on that schedule. In addition, the study showed a variety of alternative work arrangements being utilized, but part-time lawyers still felt stigmatized and some lawyer trying to telecommute found it challenging. Lastly, law firms’ assumption that clients will not work with part-time lawyers did not hold true.

Recently, we’ve been talking to the General Counsel who are part of the Diversity & Flexibility Connection, and we started to wonder what has changed with so much focus on retention of women through flexibility. With the Great Recession and cutbacks, more advancement for women in the profession, and a spotlight on diversity, we thought it was time to re-visit the issue of work/life balance for in-house lawyers.

PAR is launching a new research study focusing on work/life issues particular to in-house counsel. We are currently holding focus groups to collect the experiences and opinions of corporate counsel across the country. Results from the focus groups will be used in the development of a large-scale, national survey study.

PAR is seeking sponsors for the Corporate Counsel Project. For more information or to participate in a focus group in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Denver, or Washington DC, please contact us.

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