Monday, February 28, 2011


PAR Annual Conference to Address Challenges for Diversity & Flexibility in the New Economy

PAR’s annual conference, As the Legal Profession Turns: New Challenges for Diversity & Flexibility is coming up at the end of next month with an outstanding line up of conference topics and speakers. On March 30 at the offices of DLA Piper in Washington DC, leaders in law firms and legal departments will come together for a lively discussion on topics including:

1. The potential impact of competency-based compensation systems on diversity and flexibility: With the move away from lockstep compensation and advancement, will women and diverse attorneys be left behind or are the new systems helping to create a more even playing field by removing the mystery to advancement? Four law firms who have led the way in the move to merit will discuss how their firms are working to ensure the success of women and diverse attorneys in their firms.

2. Successes and challenges of the Diversity & Flexibility Connection: Just over one year ago, the Diversity & Flexibility Connection participating firms and corporations committed to set up beta programs for supporting a viable work/life component in law firm diversity programs. Prominent general counsels and managing partners will share their organization’s experiences.

3. Preview of the corporate counsel study findings: As a follow up to our 2003 Corporate Counsel Work/Life Report, PAR experts and in-house counsel will provide an update on the 2011 survey. PAR’s new survey will take a close look at work/life balance in-house after the Great Recession.

4. In-house counsel and law firm attorneys working together to advance women in law: A roundtable discussion facilitated by corporate counsel.

5. New models of legal practice: PAR is undertaking a new study of New Model firms, composed of lawyers who have left large-firm practice to found small firms designed to respond both to clients’ desire for lower rates and lawyers’ desire for work-life balance. This panel will discuss different types of new models of legal practice, to understand what draws attorneys to these firms, and to understand their business models.

The PAR conference provides a great opportunity to get up-to-date on the most relevant topics in the retention and advancement of women lawyers and work/life balance for all. In addition, participants will network with other attorneys working on these issues in their organizations. The conference is open for registration.

Monday, February 07, 2011


More Good News on Promotion of Women and Reduced Hours Lawyers

PAR member Andrews Kurth LLP is making some great progress in promoting women. Forty percent of the firm’s 2011 partner class is women. In addition, two of the four women elected to partnership are on the firm’s Flex Path program.

Andrews Kurth’s success in promoting women, including women on reduced hours schedules, is consistent with PAR’s Part-Time Partner Study, which shows that part-time partners are having successful careers with their law firms. One benefit of supporting part-time partners, which came out in the study, is the retention value. In the study, more than three-fourths of the partners interviewed began working reduced hours at their current firms, and the average tenure of the those partners is 12 years (ranging from four to 37). Given that more than half of women lawyers leave their law firms by their seventh year, this longevity is noteworthy. Most of the respondents to the survey reported being satisfied or very satisfied with their part-time arrangements. Many expressed a desire to stay at their firm; 84% of respondents answering this question said they would stay with their firms for the next five years if it were up to them. By investing in their high-potential women, whether on a regular or reduced schedule, firms will reap the reward of long-term commitment from their partners. As one partner in the study stated, “I would never go to another law firm anywhere, ever, under any circumstances. I’m absolutely certain of that. “

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