Biglaw, Kids, Perks / Fringe Benefits, Pregnancy / Paternity

Biglaw Perk Watch: Part-Time Status

Blackberry Crackberry Blackberries baby Above the Law blog.JPGWe continue our series of perk posts. Today we cover a perk that we expect will generate some heated discussion: part-time status.
From a reader:

In keeping with your recent series of posts regarding law firm perks, I thought I would suggest a thread on the availability of part time options. This isn’t exactly a perk, but some real info might be appreciated by those law students and attorneys who want to have a career and family. It’s especially timely in connection with this recent article.

I can tell you that I was at Cadwalader and saw part time people being treated like utter crap; they worked their tails off and still got treated with contempt by the partnership, and even worse, by senior associates and of counsel who no longer gave them good work. I can also say that, per the article, 9 hours a day in the office doesn’t exactly seem like part time (who can’t bill the cited 1900 hours per year at 9 hours a day in the office, plus extras at home?).

More discussion, plus links to a few recent articles about working part-time, after the jump.

Our source continues:

[A]t Cadwalader, the part time policy was a thing of general mystery. They offered 80% hours for 80% pay, and you could have neither more nor less than that- so they said. But it was always up for negotiation, especially if some partner considered you particularly valuable. The policy was never written down in any attorney materials, always leaving the part-timers to guess whether their contract would be renewed each year or whether they would be required to resume full-time employment. One part-timer I knew had to fight for her 80% bonus after she didn’t make her hours, but subsequently found out that “full-timers” who had fewer hours than she for the year received full 100% bonuses. The firm once tried to offer 60% pay for 80% work, but that didn’t fly too well, so they scrapped that effort.

(Look, Cadwalader is busy clawing its way to the top. Do you really expect them to be all warm and fuzzy towards part-timers?)

So what is realistic? Actual part time (9-2 or something like that)? Guaranteed 9 hours per day and no more? Is it possible to be a BigLaw attorney and be truly part time? Does one have to be a superstar appellate partner to do that?

This may bring out the haters who think people shouldn’t work as parents, and the haters who think people who have kids work less. Always entertaining!

Please discuss, in the comments. But keep it civil. Thanks.
The Anguish of a Part-Timer [New York Times]
Life’s Work: After Baby, Boss Comes Calling [New York Times]
How One Part-Time Lawyer Leads a Very Full Life [Legal Times]

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