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Many law firms offer part-time schedules to their senior associates and partners, but few take advantage, according to a National Association for Law Placement (NALP) survey done in 2000. Nationally, 94.5 percent of the more than 1,200 offices surveyed allow part-time schedules, either as an affirmative policy or on a case-by-case basis. That figure is up slightly from 1999, when the NALP survey reported that 93.8 percent offered part-time schedules. But just 3.2 percent of attorneys work part-time, compared to 2.9 percent in 1999. And associates work part-time more than partners: 4.4 percent compared to only 1.9 percent of partners, according to the survey. These are among the findings of the 2000-2001 National Directory of Legal Employers, the annual compilation of employer data published by NALP. The directory includes data from about 675 firms and almost 100,000 partners and associates nationwide. The data reveal differences in the availability and use of part-time schedules, according to the size and location of the firm. For example, part-time schedules are not as widely available in firms of 100 or fewer attorneys, but lawyers in those firms worked part-time schedules as much as did lawyers in firms of 101 to 500 attorneys — 3.4 percent. Part-time associates make up 3.5 percent of all associates in the largest firms and 4.9 percent in mid-size firms. Part-time partners, however, constitute less than 2 percent of partners in firms of more than 100, and 2.5 percent in smaller firms. The availability of part-time schedules also differs, from a low of 82 percent in Portland, Ore., to 100 percent in offices reporting from Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Ohio; Denver, Kansas City, Mo.; Orange County, Calif.; Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Seattle. Boston, Denver and San Francisco had the highest percentages of part-time attorneys, about 5 percent. In Atlanta, the survey shows 94.1 percent of law offices allow part-time schedules, either as an affirmative policy or on a case-by-case basis. Of the 30 Atlanta law offices surveyed, 0.8 percent of partners work on part-time schedules, compared to 4.5 percent of Atlanta associates who work part-time. David G. Ross, professional development and recruiting partner at Powell, Goldstein, Frazer & Murphy, says the firm has 15 part-time associates — a group which includes lawyers working at least 65 percent of a full-time schedule as well as those working on an hourly basis — out of a total of 150 associates. At Powell, Goldstein, Ross says, part-time associates are eligible for the partnership track as long as they work 65 percent of a full-time schedule. Ross says the lack of participation in part-time work can be attributed to a firm’s attitude. “It’s the attitude that the firm approaches to the part-time [schedule]. If they offer it but send signals that ‘We don’t want you to take it,’ ” Ross says, associates won’t work part-time. Ross declines to provide a number of part-time partners at Powell, Goldstein. Kelly Jean Beard, now a full-time associate at Meadows, Ichter & Trigg, spent two years as a part-time attorney at an Atlanta labor and employment boutique. She says while big law firms offer part-time schedules to attorneys, in reality, they “actively discourage” part-time work. Firms offer part-time work, Beard says, because “they think it makes them look good.” Part-time women are “derailed from partnership,” says Beard. “Firms look at you somewhat askance, as if it was something about you and your work and not your lifestyle.” Portland and San Francisco had the highest percentage of part-time partners, about 4 percent. Part-time associates ranged from 2.3 percent in Kansas City, to 6.8 percent in Hartford, Conn. Entry-level lawyers in search of part-time schedules found their options more limited. Nationally, 57 percent of offices offering a part-time option barred entry-level associates from using the arrangement. Only 6 percent had an affirmative part-time policy that made the option available to all attorneys. Julia D. Gray’s e-mail address is [email protected].

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