What is a part-time lawyer, How can a lawyer be a part-timer, what is he doing in the remaining time, selling pizza? This is a common notion, plus a joke when someone hears about part-time lawyers, but the part-timer identity for a lawyer is a real deal, read the next paragraph and you will get the answer what they are!
A fresh law-grad got an opportunity to be an associate at a top-tier law firm, she was great, she was the best but then she had a baby. She took a maternity leave and when she finally returned with all the potential, she couldn’t manage her life balance between the office and home. Assuming this exact scenario in the 1980s and probably in the 90s, she would be thrown out of her job, with the reason being non-performer.
Thankfully, this is not the current standards. All the major law firms in the US have opted for part-timer policies, commonly referred as ‘Flexible Work Arrangements’, this arrangement allows attorneys to lessen their work-hour, so they can manage their personal lives, goals and other interests.
The journey from then to now
The conventional approach says that the practice of law isn’t a part-time job. The client expects the firm to help them 24×7, the firm expects their counsel to assist 24×7. Additionally, the senior counsel believes that every successful attorney can manage their work-schedule and personal life in parallel like they did in their times.
That’s why the ‘Flexible Work Arrangement’ plan has failed in the past. But now the firms have understood the benefits of having this arrangement for everyone’s welfare.
Benefits to the lawyers
Lawyers who cannot invest their 100% to the office takes this benefits, there might be health issues, family issues or maybe they’re still studying for a better position. The arrangement is customizable, they can choose working full time in fewer than five days a week or lesser work-hours in a regular work-week. The overall program was designed to balance the life on both the fronts.
Benefits to the firm
The part-timers aren’t the only one on the winning side here. Like they do get a benefit of achieving a degree of life balance, the firm also gets certain advantages and no! cost cutting isn’t the major one. The biggest of all the advantage is to have a diversified pool force of talented attorneys by the law-firm side. Every firm wants to have the top notch talents, the flexible work arrangement makes the path clear to have more talents in the fleet in limited resource planning. Plus, this arrangement promotes the loyalty among the attorneys. Management-101 says – “a morale boost among the employees can take the firm to great heights”.
Benefits to the clients
When there is a bigger pool of talented attorneys in a law-firm, the second fellow who would be equally cheerful as the partners should be the client. After all, the consequences for the clients are dependent upon the proficiency of the attorneys. Since the law firm can have more part-timer in the team now, their brainstorming produces solutions.
All in all, part-time lawyer agreement or the flexible work arrangement is a worthwhile experiment.