Mom, Esq.

In response to Deborah , Orin , and Doug , I’d like to point out that law firms are finally starting to come around in this area—largely because they realize that if they want female partners, they need to find a reasonable way for female associates of counsel and partners to have children without hopping off the “partner track.” My peers at other large firms tell me that it’s become standard practice to offer reduced-work schedules and pay for parents (both mothers and fathers) who want to spend more time at home with their young children. And while such arrangements can slow associates in the quest to make partner, they don’t derail them entirely (the way they used to). Further, many firms like mine are moving towards “merit-based” systems for compensation and promotion rather than old-school lock-step promotions based on how many years you’ve practiced after law school. The old systems placed a premium on a young lawyer’s ability to sprint from graduation to partnership—and punished those who took time off for family, further education, public service, or other reasons. I think these new policies have the potential to help mothers (and fathers) balance their families and careers better, although I think it’s too early to gauge their full effects.