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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

In our 2019 Law Firm Flexibility Benchmarking Report, nearly all participating law firms have formal flexibility programs (90%), but the vast majority (66.7%) do not offer education around their flexible work program. Education is vital for flex employees to implement effective work practices and for supervisors to understand how to optimally manage flex employees. When done properly, flex education helps flex employees work more effectively, develop professionally, and advance.

For maximum benefits, organizations can create a solid flex education program by thinking through content, delivery, and audience. With our recommendations below, organizations can implement a best-in-class program which will directly improve the success, utilization, and effectiveness of their flex initiatives.

Members can access the complete Action Step in the Member Resource Center. To read this entire Action Step become a member of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance.  To learn more about developing and implementing a successful flexible working policy, contact Manar Morales.  

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

For many organizations, the beginning of a new year signifies the beginning of new goals and strategies to enhance an organization’s mission. At the Alliance, we hope organizations take the time to reflect on the lessons learned at our 2019 Annual Conference, Inspire. Innovate. Ignite! — it was a day packed with inspirational stories, innovative strategies and expert insights on trends and best practices covering D & I and flexible work strategies.

Here are our top four takeaways that we recommend keeping in mind when planning for the new year:

  1. If you take the time to develop an innovative, holistic flexibility initiative that is sincerely embraced by leadership, you will meet the needs of a more diverse group of employees. In turn, you will create a truly inclusive culture. 

Our Flex Impact Award winners – PwC and Morgan Lewis – are proof of this concept. Morgan Lewis reported that 60% of associates said the firm’s two day a week Remote Working Policy was the reason they chose to work at the firm! The key to Morgan Lewis’s success? Senior leadership personally and genuinely promoted the policy resulting in an authentic shift in organizational culture. PwC also made communication from the top their number one priority when implementing their Flexibility2 program. PwC’s Chairman reached out directly to 3,500 partners worldwide to reinforce the importance of their comprehensive, flexible working program….

Members can access the complete Action Step in the Member Resource Center.To read this entire Action Step become a member of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance.  To learn more about retaining and advancing more women,  contact Manar Morales.  

As we celebrate Thanksgiving, we at the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance want to thank our friends and members for their ongoing support and trust. We truly appreciate being surrounded by a community of intelligent, enthusiastic, thoughtful leaders who are invested in helping firms and organizations renew their commitment to diversity and flexibility.

In this day and age of constant contact and access to work, we are also thankful for the time to be with our families face to face and, at least for a few moments, disconnect from the office. We encourage you to do so too.

As flexibility is always top of mind, we also want to encourage you to take the time to appreciate your organization’s flexible work program. There’s a term that professional organization strategists use called “Appreciative Inquiry.” It refers to examining and highlighting the positive aspects of a business initiative to create a positive culture. We encourage you to examine and highlight the best features in your flex program and draw on these strengths as you expand and develop it. Read more

From time to time, we will be highlighting our member firms and corporations who we believe are leading the way in flexibility and diversity initiatives.  Recently, Alliance President & CEO Manar Morales spoke with Matt Keen, Managing Shareholder, and Michelle Wimes, Director of Professional Development and Inclusion, at Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. about the work they have done with their firm’s flexibility policy and the creation of two Reduced Hours Advisor positions.  The following are excerpts from their discussion:

Ogletree DeakinsMorales: What was the impetus for creating a formal flex policy?

Keen: It was an evolution over time. As more women have taken shareholder, equity shareholder, and leadership positions, our awareness has been heightened. When Michelle was hired five years ago, we adopted a more formal flex policy so that all our attorneys would know what was available.

Wimes: While we’ve always informally tried to accommodate anyone who wanted to work flexibly, we wanted to make it more formal so that everyone in all offices knew about the option. We created the Reduced Hours Advisor positions to increase communication to all regions and to provide support to those working flexible schedules. Now we have two Reduced Hours Advisors – Kelly Hughes on the East Coast and Terry Egler on the West Coast – who have been through the process of working flexibly and can provide coaching and mentoring to others.   Both hold quarterly calls with their assigned regions and provide practical advice and positive reinforcement to others. Read more

You may ask yourself, “Why would we need a formal full-time flex policy? Our attorneys are professionals and they know when they can come and go and when it’s appropriate to work from home.”

While this may be true in some cases, consider the challenges the firm faces when an attorney telecommutes 5 days a week, without his or her managing partner’s full support. Or what if an attorney is hesitant to work flexibly because he believes it will be held against him when his performance is reviewed? And how will your firm attract new law school graduates if you can’t legitimately state that you have a full-time flexible work policy and you can’t prove how many attorneys use it? Read more

We talk frequently in this blog about the myriad benefits of having a flexible work policy. It can be a win-win situation when attorneys gain some work-life control, clients maintain team consistency, and firms reduce attrition and thereby retain top talent and reduce recruitment and training costs. Law firm recruiters have traditionally tried to entice female law school grads with promises of flex schedules and family-life balance. It has been an assumption that women want flexible work schedules mostly so they can maintain their career while also having and raising children.
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Consider these questions…Are your clients consistently happy with the attorneys working for them? Have your clients complained about turnover in the firm? Have they taken their business with a departing partner? Have they refused to pay to get a new lawyer up to speed? Read more

If you’re just beginning to think about a flexible work program for your company, you may be asking yourself “how flexible should our flexibility policy be?“ Obviously lawyers want flexibility for different reasons. One may want three months off to serve in the state legislature, others may ask for reduced hours for medical reasons or flexible arrival and departure times to care for children. To be effective, Flexible Work Programs should include reduced hours and full-time flexible work options, which is called holistic flexibility, while simultaneously meeting the needs of the organization and its clients. The only way to ensure that all these needs are met is to develop a well-conceived, formal written policy that reflects a holistic approach to flexibility. Read more