How Female Leaders Approach Remote Work Policies

August 29, 2023 – Media Mention
Law360 Pulse

Executive chair of Herrick and co-chair of the firm's powerhouse Real Estate Department, Belinda Schwartz, spoke to Law360 Pulse about how the legal industry continues to grapple with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on leadership and strategic planning. Law360 Pulse spoke to some of the nation's female leaders to learn their unique take on where firms find themselves in the summer of 2023. Remote work has emerged as a pivotal aspect of the modern workplace, with some embracing the newfound flexibility, while others emphasize the value of in-office collaboration.

The article notes, "In order to provide "top-notch training" for younger lawyers and foster organic conversations among team members about deals and market concerns in the law firm, Belinda said her firm has shifted its approach from encouraging employees to be in the office for at least three days a week, to requiring it. However, Schwartz added that the firm's policy on remote work is subject to the discretion of department leaders, as they have the authority to modify the policy based on their team's needs and productivity. Additionally, the firm does not penalize employees for not coming into the office, as long as the work is being effectively completed."

Law360 Pulse continues, "Schwartz also said that her firm's top priorities are to provide good training for its lawyers and to explore the most effective methods for their development. Other considerations, such as preserving the firm's unique culture, staying informed about market trends, ensuring financial stability, and attracting top talent through strategic hiring will also play key roles in shaping their future return-to-office policy."

"We want to be nimble, and we want to be clever and [have the] ability to hire top-notch lawyers who might have a strong preference for working remotely, and we want to be able to capture those exceptional attorneys," Belinda said. "By the same token, thinking for myself, I really do believe it is very hard to train young lawyers if we're all not in the office, at least a few days a week."

Belinda is focused on how work and life for women intersect in the law firm and the article notes, "Female lawyers are more likely to leave BigLaw compared to their male counterparts due to reasons such as work-life balance. Schwartz also pointed out that remote work can be beneficial for female lawyers, especially those going through transitional stages like having or caring for children or aging parents."

"But at the same time, there might be sacrifices that you make, that will cause your career path to be something other than linear," Belinda added, pointing out the potential career trade-offs attorneys are making for not coming into the office. However, she also recognizes that some of those can be positive trade-offs for health, well-being, and family life.

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