Big Law Bends to Challenge Midsize Firms on Flexibility

April 14, 2017
The Legal Intelligencer

Media Coverage

Amid an expanding arms race in Big Law over who has the most flexible workplace policy—at least on paper—some lawyers at smaller firms may be wondering what all the fuss is about.

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New Policies, Old Idea

At many large firms, the idea of working remotely or on an alternative schedule is nothing new.

Lisa Casey Spaniel, a partner at Blank Rome, has been working a flexible schedule for more than a decade. The firm had a formalized process, even then, in which she requested an 80 percent schedule. At the time, she was a sixth-year associate preparing for maternity leave and expecting twin girls, who are now 10 years old. Despite the program's requirements, she said, the firm was accommodating.

The approval process "was a little more like window dressing," Spaniel said. "People at the firm were really supportive."

Spaniel made partner a few years later, after another maternity leave. She was in her tenth year as a lawyer, she estimated. Since then, she became the vice chair of the intellectual property and technology practice and co-chair of the firm's women's forum.

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"Big Law Bends to Challenge Midsize Firms on Flexibility," by Lizzy McLellan was published in The Legal Intelligencer on April 14, 2017.