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Holland & Knight Changes Their Policies to Attract More Women
Florida’s Holland & Knight wants to attract more female lawyers to their firm. That is why they’ve beaten the local competition with what they offer to female employees – specifically, what they offer mothers. They’ve bumped up maternity leave from 12 to 16 weeks, and paid leave for adoptive parents from 6 to 10 weeks.
Furthermore, they’ve set in ramp-down and ramp-up periods, buffer zones before and after leave when a worker has a grace period with fewer expected billable hours.
It’s a move the firm feels good about, after Tammy Knight, a partner of the Port Lauderdale branch, worked to have the policy changed. Knight, herself a mother of a 4-year-old, felt the firm should offer something to women that the other local firms weren’t, saying, as the Daily Business Review reported, “I felt that 12 weeks wasn’t the norm anymore nationally. People were moving toward 14. I thought if I could get 14 weeks, that would be great, but 16 would be better.”
Not only those within the firm, but outside commentators, approve the move, and hope other Florida firms will follow. Joe Ankus, a legal recruiter with Ankus Consulting, said, “Holland & Knight is known as one of the most liberal, family-friendly firms. It’s a kinder, gentler kind of law firm. Undeniably it will help them in attracting women on a practical and philosophical level. A lot of other firms should take their lead toward equalizing the gap in the sexes.”
Likewise, Brittany Maxey, president of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers, said, “I think it’s great. One of the things we are seeing a lot of is women are starting to not go to law school because they are afraid they won’t be able to handle the work-life balance, and they see that only 4 percent of managing partners are women. When they leave for maternity leave, it’s hard to return to the billable hours requirements.”