The National Association for Law Placement, an organization that provides information on legal employment and recruiting, revealed in their new study that the number of lawyers who are working on a part-time schedule has increased. NALP found that in 2010, 6.4% of lawyers working at large firms nationwide are on part-time schedules. In 2006, the figure was only at 5%. NALP noted that the part-time schedules are mostly dominated by women. Meanwhile, male lawyers have increasingly been reducing their working hours throughout the years.
NALP study also showed that the numbers of part-time lawyers are varying from different cities. Law firms in West Coast cities, including Portland, Seattle, Sacramento, San Diego, and San Francisco have 7% to 9.7% lawyers working on a part-time basis. Chicago and Washington, DC registered about 4.7% while New York City, Austin, New Orleans and Wilmington have less than 1%.
Stephen Vatjay, managing partner of McCarter & English, said that giving lawyers the option to be on a part-time schedule promotes diversity in the workplace and helps the firm to have a degree of parity with its corporate clients. “We believe that our attorney population should reflect society as a whole and the workplace. The flexible schedule program at McCarter enables the firm to retain more of its lawyers. It’s not just about acknowledging that people have other commitments.”
The NALP part-time data was based on the information collected from the association for the annual NAL Directory of Legal Employers. The directory is a compilation of listings from large law firms and includes part-time use information for 1,310 individual law offices and firms and for over 129,000 lawyers nationwide.