Today, Susman Godfrey will accommodate lawyers who want to work part time, says Stephen Susman, firm founder. Associates working part time would remain on partnership track, he says, although it may take them a little longer than the typical five years to make partner.
He says Christopher was a special case because the firm typically does not hire associates who have not practiced at other firms.
At Vinson & Elkins, by 1989, the firm already had more than one lawyer working reduced hours because of children, and today the firm has flexible work arrangements for associates and partners.
Nancy Polis -- another lawyer interviewed for Texas Lawyer's 1989 story -- was a new partner in Houston's Hutcheson & Grundy when her son was born in 1986. She continued to work long full-time hours for a few years after his birth before negotiating a part-time arrangement at the firm. She left the firm in 1990 and worked in various legal jobs, including a 10-year, part-time stint as a claims manager on the $3.75 billion federal breast implant settlement.
In the years since her claims manager job ended in 2004, Polis says she has worked in private practice, mostly on a part-time basis. She says that even though her son is now 26, and family responsibilities aren't keeping her from full-time work, she was "used to having a life" and didn't want to return to the full-time practice.
She would absolutely choose the same career path again, she says. "It worked out well for me. I would not trade a minute I had with my son for another billable hour."
According to Texas Lawyer's 2012 Women in Law Survey, women constitute 29.3 percent of the lawyers at 21 of the 25 firms with the most lawyers in Texas and 17.9 percent of the partners. On the in-house side, general counsel at 14 of the 105 Texas companies on the 2012 Fortune 1,000 list are women, according to information from Texas Lawyer's 2012 Corporate Roster.
Chanow says the more women GCs there are, the better it is for women working as outside counsel. "The GCs wield the power, the purchasing power," she says.
A WAKEUP CALL
Smith, the lawyer who started Moms-in-Law in November 2011, says she thought the early-morning car accident she had nearly three years ago was a wakeup call, but she came to realize she remained frustrated with her inability to put boundaries between work and her personal life.