If you want women to stay in private practice, help them pay for mat leave. This is just one of the many recommendations made by a Law Society working group focused on the retention of women in private practice. The recommendations are part of a report [pdf] that offers retention ideas for firms of all sizes.
The recommendation for law firms with five lawyers or less is to introduce a “Parental Leave Benefit Pilot Program” that will provide lawyers who have no other access to mat/pat leave benefits with $3,000 a month for three months. The money would help reduce the financial hardship sole practitioners and small firms lawyers face when they take time off to have a child.
For bigger firms, the report suggests a pilot program promoting the advancement and retention of women that would track the demographics of the bigger firms and provide flexible work arrangements, as well as networking and mentoring opportunities for women.
Keeping women in our profession is one of the hottest topics these days. Seems that everyone likes to muse about how women want to work less hours and look for work-life balance. However, most of that is pretty vague and not particularly useful. It’s great to see the Law Society recognize some of the very real barriers that women face and present some specific, practical, and concrete solutions.