Part-Time Partners: Making It Work
Diversity and the Bar
Dr. Ellen Ostrow, founder of Lawyers Life Coach in Silver Spring, MD., provides personal and career coaching for lawyers determined to achieve professional success and a fulfilling life. Many times, her coaching includes her help in developing an effective proposal for reduced hours or a flexible work schedule.
"Women don't necessarily negotiate as aggressively as they could - they tend to assume that the offer on the table is the only one possible," says Ostrow. "Sometimes coaching helps them remember that it is a negotiation and to get clear on what their terms are." "Think of balance as a verb and not a noun," says consultant Ostrow, who says that "like a punching bag, women are going to get knocked off balance, but they have to re-center themselves. That means you have to be clear about why you're doing what you're doing and what your priorities are and not let yourself get distracted."
Ostrow says that "the ease in which flexible work arrangements can be made also depends on the firm, and even as reduced-hour work schedules gain popularity, there is still a tremendous stigma attached to it. Implementing flexible schedules across the board is difficult. Even if the firm has a policy for it, the firms policy doesn't dictate the attitudes of everyone else in the firm," says Ostrow.
"You have a range of attitudes to contend with, which means a range of people who will respect your schedule as well as others who will make assumptions about your career commitment that may adversely affect your opportunity for advancement," continues Ostrow.