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December 2021 Spotlight on Flex

Our Spotlight on Flex showcases professionals from member organizations who exemplify personal and professional success while working a flexible schedule. Their stories illustrate the long-term benefits that flexible schedules offer to both individuals and organizations.

For our December 2021 Spotlight on Flex we are pleased to share insights from Katelyn Miller, Partner, Seyfarth Shaw.

 

Diversity & Flexibility Alliance: How have you made flexibility a priority and a success with your schedule? How has the firm and/or your clients contributed to this?

Katelyn Miller: Upon returning from maternity leave after the birth of my first child in 2015, I transitioned to an alternative schedule.  I had wonderful role models at my prior firm who guided me through the process of requesting and moving to a flexible schedule.  When my daughter was one, I moved to Seyfarth.  After receiving an offer, I very nervously called the head of our Litigation Department and asked whether I could join the firm on an 80% schedule. Within hours, I received a response that Seyfarth would be happy to accommodate my schedule. It was clear from the beginning that in addition to providing exceptional client service, Seyfarth truly valued its team members and provided different opportunities and avenues for its professionals to succeed.

I have maintained my 80% schedule since joining Seyfarth, with the support of my department and firm leadership.  I prioritize my flexible schedule by clearly communicating with my colleagues and setting and managing expectations at the outset of a project or new piece of litigation. I also carefully consider my workload when taking on new matters to ensure that I can devote the requisite amount of time and attention given my alternative schedule. However, once I take on a new matter, I am 100% committed, regardless of my schedule.  I am fortunate to work with attorneys and clients who respect my time and arrangement, and who trust me to provide excellent client service and work product.

Litigation can be very tough and I obviously cannot control everything, like court-ordered deadlines and schedules, client emergencies or weeks-long out of town trials. But, I have worked very hard to maintain my flexible schedule since becoming a mom and am thrilled that Seyfarth has always and continues to support me.

The Diversity & Flexibility Alliance is proud to partner with The Belonging Project, an initiative made up of organizations that have committed to supporting diverse law students and attorneys impacted by COVID-19.   The Belonging Project is a collaborative initiative launched in May and spearheaded by Seyfarth Shaw LLP.  Each partner organization will be sharing webinars, articles, coaching and/or mentoring resources and tools that would benefit diverse law students and attorneys who engage with the project.

Here’s how Seyfarth Shaw so eloquently describes the project and its goals:

The word ubuntu became popular worldwide during apartheid as Bishop Desmond Tutu explained a philosophy in multiple South African ethnic groups that our humanity derives from the humanity of the collective. Ubuntu symbolizes the universal bond we have as a people and the focus on collective responsibility. Just as the pandemic has illustrated how interdependent we are, this collective is focused on working together to move forward in our shared commitment to improving inclusion and diversity in the legal profession. We believe that we rise and fall together.

Built on this concept, The Belonging Project is a collaborative network of professional and personal support for diverse legal talent across industry organizations and law firms.  Through The Belonging Project, we are offering opportunities and programs to support diverse law students and lawyers during the pandemic. This initiative will contribute to diversity in the legal profession and encourage others to contribute and leverage their expertise and resources. In collaboration with our industry partners, we will offer webinars focused on professional and personal development, one-on-one coaching, and a curated resource center devoted to well-being and professional growth. 

More information can be found here.