WASHINGTON, DC, November 12, 2014 — More than 90 percent of the law firms surveyed in the just released 2014 Flexibility Benchmarking Survey Report from the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance (the “Alliance”) are implementing formal flexibility policies. The survey found that participating firms have a formal policy that covers one or more of the following types of flexibility: reduced hours schedules, telecommuting, flexible start/end times, annualized hours, and job sharing. More firms allow lawyers to work flexibly on an ad hoc basis.
The report also found that actual flexible work usage was much less common, with flex lawyers constituting approximately 13 percent of lawyers at all participant firms.
“We find this sampling of firms (of which over two-thirds were AmLaw 100 firms) is representative of major U.S. law firms. While flexibility policies boost law firm productivity, retention, and innovation, efforts are still required to embrace flexibility for all,” says Manar Morales, President & CEO of the Alliance. “The survey results show that work remains to make flexibility a viable option for all lawyers, particularly among people of color and LGBT individuals who are underrepresented among flex lawyers at participant firms.”
The 2014 Flexibility Benchmarking Survey Report, which is available in its entirety to Alliance members, also examines the relationship between leave policies and flexibility, key metrics related to retaining and advancing flex lawyers, as well as infrastructure for successful flexible work programs. An executive summary of the report is available to the public on the Alliance’s website.
Key findings from the report include:
– Men are the largest share of telecommuting and flex start/end time lawyers, debunking the myth that flexibility is a women’s issue only.
– Virtually all participant firms ensure that compensation, benefits and leave are provided on at least a pro rata basis for those who work less than a full-time schedule. These are essential features of a non-stigmatized flex program.
– Over 60 percent of participant firms have a formal policy providing a gradual return to work from parental leave, which Alliance research shows has a positive impact on retention.
– More than three-quarters of participant firms have a designated flex administrator to actively support the success of the flexibility program.
The survey results show that Alliance firms are promoting reduced hours lawyers to partner and flex lawyers are serving in significant leadership roles in their firms,” added Morales. “These firms demonstrate an understanding that supporting work-life control not only helps its lawyers succeed, but also benefits the firm.”
Alliance member firms in the United States, as well as non-member firms who were part of the 2013 AmLaw 100, were invited to participate in the survey. Twenty-two firms completed the survey, which reflects data as of December 31, 2013.
The Diversity & Flexibility Alliance is a think tank dedicated to creating work environments centered on inclusion and innovative thought leadership. The Alliance provides practical solutions that increase organizational effectiveness and create high performance cultures leveraging diversity and flexibility.
More information about the Alliance can be found at dfalliance.com.
President & CEO