Action Steps


 

The Alliance’s Action Steps are designed to assist organizations with implementing practical strategies and policies related to diversity and flexibility.  Members can access full versions of all of the Alliance’s Action Steps in the Member Resource Center.

ASSIGN WORK EQUITABLY

Assignments are a key component to determining a lawyer’s success. They provide training, experience, client contact, and the opportunity to work with senior attorneys. They engage a lawyer and make him/her feel involved in working toward a meaningful goal. Lawyers measure their progress and advancement against their peers by comparing: assignments; working for more prestigious clients; working with respected senior lawyers; and how much responsibility they have on matters. Read more

The Alliance’s Action Steps are designed to assist organizations with implementing practical strategies and policies related to diversity and flexibility.  Members can access full versions of all of the Alliance’s Action Steps in the Member Resource Center.

FIVE MISTAKES SUPERVISORS MAKE WHEN EVALUATING FLEXIBLE SCHEDULE ASSOCIATES

Nearly invisible and yet very powerful, flexibility stigma can infiltrate associate evaluations and undermine even the best flexible work program. Here are five mistakes supervisors make when evaluating associates who work flexibly – and how to fix them… Read more

The Alliance’s Action Steps are designed to assist organizations with implementing practical strategies and policies related to diversity and flexibility.  Members can access full versions of all of the Alliance’s Action Steps in the Member Resource Center.

FLEXIBLE FLEXIBILITY: INDIVIDUALLY-TAILORED SCHEDULES

Flexibility is a two-way street. To be effective, flexible work programs have to provide what lawyers want and meet the needs of the organization and clients. The legal profession is a service-driven one; accordingly, outlining expectations for a flex lawyer’s availability when client emergencies arise is critical to the viability of the organization. Flexible flexibility is good. Well conceived written policies that provide flexible flexibility are even better… Read more

The Alliance’s Action Steps are designed to assist organizations with implementing practical strategies and policies related to diversity and flexibility.  Members can access full versions of all of the Alliance’s Action Steps in the Member Resource Center.

FIVE ESSENTIAL CHARACTERISTICS OF AN EFFECTIVE WRITTEN FLEXIBLE WORK POLICY

A written flex policy has clear benefits. It gives the employer control over the terms of the program and guidelines for managing it. It also encourages lawyers to use the policy to curb unwanted attrition, and thereby reducing flexibility stigma. Here are five essential characteristics of an effective written flex policy to consider:

  1. The policy should be designed by the organization
  2. The policy should allow attorneys to create a schedule that fits their needs…

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The Alliance’s Action Steps are designed to assist organizations with implementing practical strategies and policies related to diversity and flexibility.  Members can access full versions of all of the Alliance’s Action Steps in the Member Resource Center.

HIRE A FLEXIBLE WORK COORDINATOR

Most Alliance member firms have flexible work coordinators. They play an essential role in the success of flexible work programs. Here are some of the things flexible work coordinators can do for firms:

  1. Oversee the schedules, assignments, evaluations, and promotions of the lawyers who are working flexibly, monitoring them for reasonable compliance with the agreement between the lawyers and the firm;
  1. Work with lawyers who want to make a proposal for flexible work, helping them to think through various schedule options, anticipate client needs, and suggest necessary workload adjustments…

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The Alliance’s Action Steps are designed to assist organizations with implementing practical strategies and policies related to diversity and flexibility.  Members can access full versions of all of the Alliance’s Action Steps in the Member Resource Center.

BEST PRACTICES FOR NEGOTIATING YOUR FLEXIBLE SCHEDULE

  1. Prepare: Define what you need and get the facts
  2. Develop the business case and create a road map
  3. Anticipate objections and plan alternatives
  4. Get in the right mind frame
  5. Make your presentation
  6. Plan your next steps…

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The Alliance’s Action Steps are designed to assist organizations with implementing practical strategies and policies related to diversity and flexibility.  Members can access full versions of all of the Alliance’s Action Steps in the Member Resource Center.

TAKE A PICTURE OF THE GLASS CEILING AT YOUR FIRM

One of the greatest challenges for law firms is to identify their glass ceilings. (For some firms, of course, the greatest challenge is admitting that they have a glass ceiling, but the low numbers of women in the upper levels of leadership at most firms are hard to deny.) By determining the location and parameters of the obstacles to women’s advancement, firms can target their efforts and make better progress toward gender equity. Here are ways to get a handle on where the obstacles for women exist in your firm:

  1. Slice and dice the number of women in every sector of the firm for the last several years…

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The Alliance’s Action Steps are designed to assist organizations with implementing practical strategies and policies related to diversity and flexibility.  Members can access full versions of all of the Alliance’s Action Steps in the Member Resource Center.

SUPPORT DIVERSITY & FLEXIBILITY PROGRAMS AT THE TOP

Visible support from the firm’s top management is essential to incorporating diversity and flexibility into the culture. Stating support in memos or meetings is a good start, but by itself will not get the job done. Much of the communication within a firm is nonverbal, and includes what leaders do, what gets noticed, and what gets rewarded. Here are some action steps firm managers can take to align their deeds with their words:

  1. Chair the initiative, and attend every meeting
  2. Stop by the office of a lawyer of color or a part-time lawyer to chat…

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The Alliance’s Action Steps are designed to assist organizations with implementing practical strategies and policies related to diversity and flexibility.  Members can access full versions of all of the Alliance’s Action Steps in the Member Resource Center.

MAKE YOUR FLEXIBLE WORK POLICY A RECRUITING AND RETENTION TOOL

If your firm’s flexible work policy is largely unused, or used only by a handful of lawyers who are mothers of young children, you may be missing out on an easy, effective, and comparatively inexpensive way to recruit and keep great lawyers. If your firm wouldn’t exactly be called a “lifestyle” firm, then a reduced hours program that lawyers are encouraged to use can be a strong recruiting and retention tool. Candidates will flock to your door, and the attrition treadmill will slow, but only if your flexible work program is non-stigmatized… Read more

The Alliance’s Action Steps are designed to assist organizations with implementing practical strategies and policies related to diversity and flexibility.  Members can access full versions of all of the Alliance’s Action Steps in the Member Resource Center.

TAKE YOUR FIRM’S MEASURE

What gets measured gets done, so measuring the effectiveness your firm’s retention program makes sense. Benchmarking where your firm is now with respect to key indicators will let you know where your firm needs to concentrate its retention efforts and will tell you later if your firm is making progress in retaining its valued lawyers. Here are some key measures worth exploring:

  1. The number of men who are working flexibly
  2. The number of female and minority lawyers at your firm’s highest levels
  3. The demographics of the lawyers working on your firm’s biggest and best cases…

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