The struggle to balance career and family is not a new problem, but one that many employers have recently started to address and implement policies about.
The struggle to balance career and family is not a new problem, but one that many employers have recently started to address and implement policies about. These changes are no longer an administrative annoyance, but are being recognized as actually adding value to firms and giving them an edge in a competitive environment. Obviously, having two working parents in a household is not uncommon, nor is a single parent support of the family -- it is becoming the norm. Individuals need to find time for responsibilities outside of work. Therefore, it is important that firms address their level of commitment to institutionalizing and publicizing support for alternative work schedules.
Increasingly, firm policy on alternative work arrangements has become a hot button issue. Even attorneys who do not necessarily have children, or even expect to have any, find it an important indicator of a firm's culture. Today's attorneys are looking to join a progressive firm that values the importance of family and community. As you research different firms during your job search, it is important to find out as much information as possible regarding their policies on alternative work arrangements and gauge how important their views on the issue are to you.
Many attorneys refuse to approach firm management about reducing their time in the office. Unfortunately, many feel it would be detrimental to their careers to even mention the possibility of cutting back. The impression of most law firms is that billing long, horrific numbers of hours is the only way to succeed. In fact, a study by the National Association of Law Placement found that although 96 percent of law firms surveyed offered part-time positions, only 4.1 percent of attorneys actually took advantage. Listed below are some common stigmas about going part-time, as well as information as to why they no longer hold true:
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