Father Time: Flexible Work Arrangements and the Law Firm's Failure of the Family

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Stanford Law Review

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Stan. L. Rev.


Members of the latest generation of law firm associates state that their primary professional goal is attaining a work-family balance. Firms have responded to these demands by implementing superficial family-friendly policies such as paternity leave and part-time schedules, which male lawyers have failed to utilize. The article analyzes the structural and cultural barriers within the legal workplace that keep men from adopting part-time schedules. The male lawyer's double-bind is outlined, as are the gender effects suffered by women, who, in light of the male absence on the part-time front, have become the sole users of the firms' flexible work policies. Finally, the article makes an economic case for modified work schedules and describes how a model law firm could function. Elite firms must address all of these factors -- workplace structure, firm culture, and recruitment/retention economics -- if they are to move beyond gendered paradigms and genuinely support men in their roles as lawyers and fathers.

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