Beyond The Billable Hour™
Making the Hours of Your Life Worth More™
The legal community has responded with generosity and concern to the survivors of Hurricane Katrina. But lawyers who are caregivers to their children oraging family members are facing hardships that I believe are being overlooked - and must be addressed.
Like everyone else in New Orleans, women lawyers have lost their homes - in every sense of the word. It is so much more than the loss of "things." They are dislocated - trying to create new lives without a sense of place and community to ground them.
Many New Orleans firms have re-established themselves - at least for the time being - in Baton Rouge, or other cities. Lawyers and support staff are staying with family or renting housing.
But, what about child care? Here's a note I received from a young woman partner who left New Orleans with her children (an infant and a toddler.)
"We are temporarily residing with friends of my husband in Texas. I lost my house - it was in the area where the levee breached. It is very surreal. I feel very much in limbo right now. My main concern is to keep the children as stable as possible under the circumstances. My law firm established a temporary office in Baton Rouge. However there is no one to care for my little ones as my childcare provider also lost her home and is staying with friends elsewhere. My circumstances are different from those of the partners at my firm whose wives can stay home with their children while they work. I do not want to give up my 10 years of practice plus my partnership. Even if I find a place to live, who will stay with my children at this time of need? I may be forced to make a choice between staying at home and being a mom to these kids who desperately need stability, and my career. It is not much of a choice. All those years to get my partnership and one hurricane takes it all away. I'm numb. But at least, we all have our health, for which I'm grateful."
Hopefully, this lawyer's firm will make whatever accommodations are necessary to allow her to provide her children stability while gradually resuming her law practice.
Hopefully, in evaluating her, the firm will look at factors other than the hours she billed or the revenue she generated this year.
Hopefully, her partners will remember to consider these factors long after the flood recedes into memory.
I know she can't be the only woman lawyer facing this impossible choice.
Let us all hope that legal employers of people whose lives have been undermined by Hurricane Katrina will show compassionate support for those who need to do more than find a place to live in order to return to work.
More than ever, this is a time to think beyond the bottom line.
Gavett and Datt, P.C.
(I've known this firm for many years. Great lawyers and people - and they really understand part-time/balanced hours.)
Rebecca Strandberg & Associates, PA
Required competencies: * Excellent legal research skills * Able to draft legal memoranda and simple motions independently * Able to draft complex motions and briefs with some supervision * Understand rules of document production and manage with some supervision * Take and defend depositions * Participate meaningfully in case strategy sessions, development of litigation plans and budgets * Manage small matters independently; Take a lead role in client communications in small matters * Assist in preparing for and trying 3-5 trials and 4-6 complex litigation cases/year * Be firm model with respect to timesheet preparation, work projections, following office systems, etc. * Interact with colleagues, clients, opposing counsel with courtesy, civility, respect * Able to handle confrontation with opposing counsel in gracious but firm manner
We are seeking a mature individual, able to establish good working relationships in a small office; committed to working hard; low threshold for boredom; self-starter who seeks feedback and opportunities for professional growth. This is a unique opportunity to invest in long-term career development, client development and the long-term success of the firm.
Excellent benefits including health and 401K matching. CLE opportunities.
3. NEW FROM LAWYERS LIFE COACH LLC: http://www.thecompletelawyer.com/volume1/issue4/article.php?artid=42
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Simon Tupman, author of Why Lawyers Should Eat Bananas and owner of "Lawyers With a Life" is conducting an online survey of happiness levels in the legal profession. The results should be very interesting. To participate, please go to: http://FreeOnlineSurveys.com/rendersurvey.asp?id=107384
Marjorie Greenfield MD, author of Dr. Spock's Pregnancy Guide, is an obstetrician and associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University Hospital of Cleveland.
Dr. Greenfield is currently writing her second book about pregnancy, The Working Woman's Pregnancy Book, which will be published by Yale University Press. She is interested in speaking with women who've worked at a job during pregnancy.
If you'd like to share your experience of pregnancy in the workplace with Dr. Greenfield, please contact her at
Don't you wish you'd had a handbook for how to handle your pregnancy in your workplace? This is an opportunity to contribute your ideas and advice and to help other pregnant women.
If you need administrative support for your practice but don't have the space or budget for a full time assistant, a virtual assistant may be the solution.
Virtual assistants are professionals trained to provide administrative support - word processing, billing, bookkeeping, scheduling, email review, client correspondence, etc. - virtually.
Sally Lowrey worked with an attorney in solo practice for 20 years before receiving her virtual training.
Learn more about Sally and her services at http://www.sallyonyourside.com
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