Law Firms Pull Out the Stops to Make Working Mother's Best List

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Creating a family-friendly workplace isn't just an act of kindness. Supporting working families, particularly in a law firm, can affect the organization's ability to attract and retain top performers. The Top 50 law firms that secured a spot on the Working Mother's Best Law Firms for Women list are meeting key business goals through their work/life integration programs. They're well ahead of the curve in helping employees succeed at the firm and at home, offering a variety of programs that embrace the whole employee. "Firms committed to being employers of choice in order to recruit and retain the best lawyers and staff need to provide top-notch child care solutions," said Debbie Henry, Founder and President of Flex-Time Lawyers, which partnered with Working Mother to develop the list. "These solutions are essential to support employees with families, which often represent half of a firm's workforce. Firms that have strong child care solutions in place benefit from increased recruitment, retention and productivity metrics, significantly contributing to the success of their business operations."

Dependent Care Support a Key Factor

The majority of law firms that made the list offer dependent care support to their employees, from back-up care child and adult/elder care to on- or near-site full-service child care. Thirty-six of the Top 50 partner with Bright Horizons to provide dependent care support to their workforce. More than 100 law firms across the country work with Bright Horizons to create and deliver customized child care, early education, elder care and other work/life solutions to keep them at the forefront among firms with family-friendly benefits.

Flexibility and Alternative Schedules

Offering women attorneys more than one path to partnership secured a spot on the list for many firms. Winning law firms are offering attorneys the option of working reduced hours without consequences to making either equity or nonequity partnership. At many firms, these reduced hours are exempt from billable-hours goals. Many firms also allow their attorneys to set their own schedules and allow for unlimited time off provided they meet client obligations. For example, Cravath, Swaine & Moore allows attorneys to take afternoons off or work only during the academic year with summers off. Some provide equipment for attorneys to telecommute from a home office.

Support for New Parents

The Top 50 all offer paid maternity leave of varying lengths. On average, the firms that made the list offer 13.8 weeks of paid maternity leave for new mothers. Thirty firms offer 12 weeks; one firm offers 6 weeks and four offer 20 weeks or more. Folger Levin & Kahn provides a leading 24 weeks of paid leave. Hunton & Williams' Pathways for Success program allows for a five-year unpaid leave. Many firms offer a transition back-to-work program, during which new mothers can work reduced hours or take on a comparable role in the firm to gradually return to practicing full time. Best firms for women also take fathers into consideration, with many offering paid paternity leave as well. Learn from the law industry's leaders by reviewing what made them winners.

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Written by: Bright Horizons Blog Editor

About the Author

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The Bright Horizons Blog Editor frequently posts on the real solutions that meaningfully support employees, advance careers, and drive the world’s leading brands. The Editor curates the latest news, trends, and challenges facing HR pros because your time is scarce. Follow the Bright Horizons Blog to receive this insight in your inbox.