Many female lawyers want to critically evaluate their position. The reality is that unless women are willing to take on a full-time role with a new employer, opportunities can be limited. Law firms have come a long way in implementing flexible and part time working arrangements for existing staff. However, it is rare for a firm to advertise a part-time fee earning role for lateral employees.
Firms do hire part-time lawyers on occasion, but only if they are unable to hire a full-time lawyer. While research suggests that part-time employees prioritise their time more efficiently than their full-time counterparts, law firms appear reluctant to take on un-tried lawyers part time, often citing their clients’ demands as a reason for seeking a full-time employee.
I always ask my clients to consider a good part-time lawyer for their roles. I suggest to candidates that they work four days per week (at least until they have proven themselves to a new firm) and show flexibility to take work at home if needed. This is in no way ground breaking advice, but it is effective of prevailing industry attitudes.
Law firms invest considerable resources into their firm’s equal opportunity and diversity studies. A greater willingness to hiring new part time fee-earners is something law firms should look to consider – particularly in a market short of candidates.