As the year comes to a close, here’s a look back at some of the highlights from our 2016 Spotlight on Flex interviewees:
Partner, Winston & Strawn LLP (Chicago, IL)
To make flex successful, I worked with my Practice Group Leaders to make sure I was staffed on projects that would expand my skills set and not just do “leftover” work. We met on a regular basis to discuss what I was working on, if I had too little or too much work, and to make sure there was a constant balance of quality matters on my plate. I surrounded myself (and continue to do so) with people who are, and a firm that is, supportive of me and my schedule. [Full interview]
Counsel, Dentons (Washington, DC)
When life changed, I asked for the help that I needed to manage work and family commitments. You simply have to ask for what you want. We do it for our clients all the time in negotiations, so why not do the same for ourselves? And if things aren’t working out, or if there’s a problem, it is far more constructive to bring a proposed solution along with your “ask”. It may not be a solution that ultimately works, but at least it will start the thought process and possibly open up other solutions. And finally, there’s always a sacrifice – that’s not just for flex – that’s life. [Full interview]
Marsha Rose Gillentine, Ph.D.
Director, Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox P.L.L.C. (Washington, DC)
[T]here are always paths available – you just have to find what will work for you. This is why constant personal check-ins are so important, especially when you reach a life or career milestone. What was great for you two years ago may not be the best option for you now. If you stay silent, you won’t be happy… Sometimes taking that leap of faith is the best choice. Yes, it’s scary, but it may be the best thing ever for you! [Full interview]
Principal, Beveridge & Diamond PC (Baltimore, MD)
In order for flexibility to work well, it has to work both ways. I prioritized client needs, and I made it clear to my colleagues that I had availability on my days “off” if something came up. I volunteered to switch my schedule when needed, and I never felt like I was losing out on major opportunities because I was willing to be flexible too. I worked hard to plan and stay ahead on projects to try to avoid unexpected issues. I was fortunate to work with colleagues who helped make this possible. My schedule definitely hasn’t always been easy over the years, but it has allowed me to play a very active role both at work and at home. [Full interview]
Cheryl Tedeschi Sloane
Associate, White & Case LLP (Miami, FL)
There’s a misconception that flex time is something people would like to do versus it’s something they need for sustainability. Flexibility keeps people from dropping out. I think professional development and business development go hand-in-hand. I have to demonstrate to partners and clients alike how I’m going to add value on cases and then make good on those promises. Being on flex means making the most out of every opportunity. [Full interview]
Associate, Holland & Hart LLP (Denver, CO)
Life is too short not to give your all in everything you do. Once I was able to slow things down at work just a little, I was able to take a breath and see I could really excel at being an exceptional lawyer, father, husband, and coach… I wish more men would be open about working flex because I know they’re out there. I hope that my transparency can help combat any stigma male or female attorneys think they may experience by working flex. [Full interview]
Partner, Faegre Baker Daniels LLP (Indianapolis, IN)
I made flex a priority with the firm by asking, being up front, and being honest with what I was looking for. I made it a success for me personally by taking the time early in my career to invest in the group and the partners I worked with so I could build their trust before I needed to make “the ask.” Firms can have these policies, but there’s a lot of responsibility on the individual to make that schedule a success… I didn’t go into law with the intention of working flex. When you have the time to invest in your work, it’s worth it. At some point in time, for whatever reason, you’ll need to make “the ask.” You’ll want to have that credit in the bank – so it’s important to think long term. [Full interview]
Partner, Fenwick & West LLP (Mountain View, CA)
My job would be more challenging without flex. Flex gives me the ability to have a long-term, sustainable career at a large firm. My reduced hours schedule has given me the ability to spend time on business development and promote the firm through writing articles, speaking engagements, and planning client events. These are some of the many other important aspects of maintaining my practice… [F]lexibility definitely made accomplishing everything easier once I switched to a reduced hours schedule – my career became more sustainable and more fun again. [Full interview]
Lori Brandes, Ph.D.
Of Counsel, Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox P.L.L.C. (Washington, DC)
In January 2015 my husband and I moved from Washington, DC to a 65 acre farm in West Virginia for a lifestyle change. I wanted to continue working at the firm, and the firm supported my decision. Since moving, I telecommute daily in addition to working a 90 percent reduced hours schedule. I come into the DC office two-three times/month to attend internal meetings and meet with clients. This is why I believe my current, holistic flex schedule is a true testament of the firm and me making flexibility a priority and a success… You shouldn’t be afraid to ask for flex – we all have different reasons for why we need it. I wouldn’t change anything I did to be where I am today. [Full interview]
If you are an attorney working a flexible schedule and would like to share your story in an upcoming Spotlight on Flex, contact Eliza Musallam.