Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Why just women?

I agree in principle with this op-ed piece originally published in Texas Lawyer authored by Kathleen Wu of Andrews Kurth in Dallas. Wu writes:

There's been an awful lot written about what the legal profession can do to try to stop the flow of women leaving the profession after they have children and find 60-hour workweeks unsustainable. But I've seen very little written about how, once they've left the profession, firms can bring them back.

After all, few women intend to leave the work force permanently. Many would prefer not to have left at all but were unable to find a suitable part-time or telecommuting option.
My only bone of contention is this: why is it always and only women they talk about with respect to leaving the profession? Granted, they are the majority but they are also not alone. I started my own practice because I tried to work out a part-time/telecommuting option (try driving 120 miles a day every day) and could not. So while the thrust of the piece is spot on, I just wish it was more gender-neutral. Some men want lives, too.


Carolyn Elefant said...

This is starting to change. Deborah Epstein Henry, who runs FlexTime Lawyers, has proposed a system called FACTS that would give law firms a rubric for offering flexible options to all employees, male or female, for whatever reason. And the DC Bar LPM committee is putting together a panel for February on part time options - and I insisted that they have a male attorney on the panel who's benefitted from a part time approach. As for me, I don't think that anything rivals the flexiblity of solo practice for men or women with families, but I also think that things won't change much at law firms until men start demanding flex time as well as women.

David Stejkowski said...

Carolyn, thanks for visiting. You just reminded me that your excellent blog, which I read regularly, needs to be in my roll.