9 Myths of Work/Life Balance in Law

By Kristopher A. Nelson in

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PAR’s Mythbusters provides hard data to bust nine key myths about work/life balance in the legal profession:

Myth 1: Work/life balance is a women’s issue.

Myth 2: Law firms are trying hard, but the problems of retaining women and offering work/life balance are too intractable.

Myth 3: Law firms lose money on part-timers.

Myth 4: You can tell whether you will be able to work part-time by checking a law firm’s website.

Myth 5: Going “in house” is the way to achieve balance.

Myth 6: Going into the government or public interest law is the way to achieve balance.

Myth 7: “I’ll just take off a year or two when I have my kids, and then I’ll go back to practicing law.”

Myth 8: Work/life balance is inconsistent with the practice of law at the highest levels.

Myth 9: Young lawyers say they want work/life balance, but when the chips are down they really want the highest possible salary.

The Project for Attorney Retention (PAR) studies work/life issues in legal employment. Its web site includes information for lawyers and law firms about non-stigmatized part-time programs, best practices for retaining attorneys through alternative work schedules, and how part-time really is at different firms:

To kick off PAR’s Law School Project, PAR co-director Joan Williams spoke at two events last week: a law student event for the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia, and the Ms. J.D. conference at Yale Law School. PAR’s Law School project is designed to help legal employers respond effectively to the desire of many law students for legal jobs that offer both the opportunity to practice law at the highest level and the opportunity for work/life balance.

One resource for law students is How to Find a Job that Allows for Work/Life Balance, co-written by PAR and the Stanford Law School Office of Career Services.

Via Up to Par: PAR launches the PAR Law School Project