WASHINGTON, DC, March 22, 2017 — While the availability of flexible work arrangements has increased in law firms, new research released by the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance (“the Alliance”) suggests that not all lawyers and staff are using the policies. The third annual Law Firm Flexibility Benchmarking Survey, released today, examines the availability and usage of flexible work policies in large U.S. law firms.
The survey found that while 26 of 28 participating firms (93 percent) have a formal written flexible work policy, the attorney usage rates remain at or below 8.8 percent for reduced hours, flexible start and end times, telecommuting, annualized hours, and job sharing. Detailed information is available in the report’s Executive Summary.
“While we are optimistic about the growing number of major U.S. law firms that have a formal flexible work policy, the usage rates are a better indicator of a culture that truly supports flex,” said Manar Morales, President & CEO of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. “For a flexibility policy to be successful it must be de-gendered, de-parented, de-stigmatized, and integrated into the cultural norms of an organization. Otherwise many employees, diverse individuals in particular, often face bias and stigma related to working flexibly,” she added. “Our vision for the future is an industry where all professionals are comfortable working flexibly and are confident that they are not impeding their career by doing so.”
Some other highlights from the report include: