Friday, January 21, 2011


No Part-Time Floodgates

Recently, NALP reported on the usage of part-time schedules in law firms. NALP’s latest data show that 6.4% of lawyers were working part-time in 2010, and 70% of those part-timers were women. This is up from 5.9% in 2009 and 2.9% in 2001 when PAR published its first report on part-time lawyers. The percentage of part-time lawyers is small, but it’s steadily growing, and that’s a good sign.

During that same period of time, the percentage of law firms offering part-time schedules increased from 85% to 98%. So, while almost all law firms have part-time programs, the argument that offering part-time programs will open the floodgates is indeed a myth.

Another encouraging finding in the study: there was a significant growth rate among part-time partners – from 1.2% in 1994 to 3.6% in 2010. This change is consistent with PAR’s 2009 study on part-time partners, which showed that part-time partners are having successful careers bringing in significant revenue and generating significant books of business.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011


Resolve to Change the Partner Comp Process this Year

Last summer, PAR and MCCA published the groundbreaking study on the disparate impact of law firm compensation systems on women. The study concluded that existing compensation systems for lawyers open the door to gender bias because they contain tremendous subjectivity, lack transparency, and because so much of the negotiation surrounding salaries takes place out of sight.

As many firms are in the partner compensation process, we wanted to provide the best practice recommendations to address the problems identified in the study:

1. Make the process transparent
2. Benchmark to check the demographics of compensation levels
3. Improve diversity on the compensation committee and consider implementing a reviewing partner system
4. Have a billable hours threshold with no compensation for billing over
5. Origination credit should not be inheritable; pitch credit as an alternative
6. Set up a diverse committee that handles disputes over origination credit
7. Tie compensation to institutional investments as well as cash flow
8. Process should provide a check on bias

PAR would like to hear about changes that firms are making as a result of the study or which highlight best practices. Over the next year, we are collecting best practices from law firms to prepare follow up findings on the study, which we will share at our annual conference in Spring 2012. We will also highlight achievements here. Contact us with any questions or success stories.

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