Part-Time Partners

According to Part-time Partners: How Women Lawyers are Reaching Greater Heights with Fewer Billable Hours, a feature in this month's edition of Working Mother Magazine, law firms are increasingly offering partnerships to reduced-hour lawyers. 

Pamela Miller, an equity partner at Arnold & Porter and mother of two, works a reduced hour schedule, making time for soccer games and school conferences. 

“I don’t believe in apologizing for the fact that I’m a working mother,” says the 38-year-old equity partner in Arnold & Porter’s litigation practice. “If I send out an email about things going on at home, people will get a mixed message about whether or not I’m available. I use technology to the greatest impact to be available. Sometimes it means taking a call from a soccer field instead of the office.” 

When David Stone, a partner at Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg, wanted to hire Elaine Taussig, an associate from another firm, he had to make a decision:

Initially, they couldn’t agree on her schedule: She wanted part-time; he needed full-time. “What I found out was that not hiring her was the worst option. I was better with her three days a week than zero,” he recalls with a laugh. “So I called back and said, ‘Okay, you win.’”

The article offers a number of tips for making part-time partnership work, including:

Take on fewer projects but devote yourself to them. “I don’t see myself as part-time. I see myself as a hundred percent on fewer matters,” says Sidley Austin equity partner Laura Barzilai.

Take Wednesday off. If you’re looking for a four-day week, TGIF isn’t necessarily the best plan. “Clients don’t seem to miss you on Wednesday, but they do like to have things done on Friday,” says Hogan & Hartson managing partner Emily Yinger.

Of course, Pamela Miller's "part-time" schedule--roughly 40 hours per week--would be considered "full-time" in many other professions. Still, she makes it home for her "most important daily appointment—6:30 p.m. family dinner."



This is absolutely what I think the legal profession should expect of its people, and something I am already exploring with with employers even as a law student for summer positions.

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