Summary: After taking note of other law firms adopting new policies, Lowenstein Sandler implemented a new parental leave policy.
Facebook and a number of other companies started a trend of the last few years of improving parental leave policies, in part to attract and retain top talent. Law firms are starting to catch up with Lowenstein Sandler jumping forward with an impressive new policy for new parents.
Chairman and managing partner of Lowenstein Sandler, Gary Wingens, said, âWe are particularly proud to be removing distinctions in our policies that are based on an employeeâs gender, their role at the firm, or whether they are becoming a parent through biology or adoption.â
The new policy is effective immediately. It will provide the primary parental caregiver with 24 weeks of leave after the birth or adoption of a child. A nonprimary parental caregiver will receive up to 12 weeks. The new parental program will also offer adoption assistance with up to $5,000 in reimbursement for the cost.
Two other programs have been created by the firm â an internal mentorship and a âramp-upâ initiative which allows attorneys returning from parental leave to work an 80 percent schedule for two months with full compensation.
Wingens explained, âWhat we found is a number of people do have some challenges in figuring out how do you balance career and a new family. What weâre really doing is acknowledging the reality that the first couple of months back from a leave can be really hard in a number of ways.â
Lowenstein Sandler came up with their policies by surveying other law firms. Winston & Strawn offers a 20-week, gender-neutral parental leave policy for associates and of counsel attorneys. Proskauer Rose also announced their new policy a few months ago where primary caregivers returning from parental leave will get a 75 percent schedule for six months with full compensation.
Lowenstein Sandler did acknowledge that they do not feel that their lawyers will use the policy appropriately. Most eligible attorneys from the Palo Alto office used the full paternity leave whereas those in their East Coast offices did not take advantage of paternity leave.
The culture inside law firms generally looks down on attorneys that take paternity leave although that may be changing. Lowenstein Sandler, much like other law firms, are hoping to change this norm and support attorneys that take advantage of the new programs.
Wingens said, âWhat are seeing, and its actually gratifying to see, is that many of our younger lawyers who are entering the workforce have much more of what I call an equalized expectation of what each parent is going to be doing and an expectation of each parentâs actual presence in the life of their children.â
Do you think attorneys will take advantage of parental leave policies? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.
To learn more about other parental leave policies, read these articles:
- Winston & Strawn Offers New Mothers and Fathers 20 Weeks Paid Leave
- The Best Places for New Dads to Work
- 50 Best Law Firms for Women