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"Family-friendly law firms"

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An Above the Law tweet suggests "If you want a hope of any work/life balance, this list matters." The list is that produced by the Yale Law Women of the supposedly top "family-friendly law firms." But it's hard to see why this list matters. One presumably goes to a law firm for more than a year, but the turnover on the Yale law list is 50% from year to year, and even more over two years. Picking a firm now because it's supposedly so family-friendly appears to be a random crapshoot whether one will end up at a firm that is "family-friendly" when one graduates law school. And that's before the paradox that the Yale Law Women list only somewhat overlaps with the one created by "Working Mother and Flex-Time Lawyers." Anyone choosing a large law firm because they're looking for a family-friendly environment is setting themselves up for disappointment. It's the rare law firm that doesn't rejigger its requirements and expectations for associates at least once in a five-year period; getting named to the Yale Law Women list is no prediction of whether an associate will be disgruntled enough to sue over lack of family-friendliness. BigLaw pays the salary that it does because it can bill the rates that it does, and it can bill the rates that it does because its clients expect the firm to jump at a moment's notice and work around the clock when needed. The associates who do that are always going to have an advantage over the 9-to-5-ers, in experience if nothing else; the associates with that experience and skillset are going to be much more able to negotiate for a good job outside of BigLaw that accommodates their desire for work-life balance years down the road.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy
rmangual@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

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