Philadelphia Bar Association 1999 Model Employer Policies for Parenting Lawyers Preamble


In 1989, the Philadelphia Bar Association developed the Model Employer Policies of Family Responsibility to provide guidance to law firms and legal departments in their efforts to assist lawyers in achieving a rewarding balance of commitment to the profession and commitment to their families. The aspirations of the original Model Policies remain the same today.

In the years since the Model Policies were first introduced, parenting lawyers in the City of Philadelphia have entered into alternative work arrangements with their employers with increasing frequency. It is now clear that there is no single "ideal" model for such arrangements. Rather, the circumstances of each lawyer and employer are unique, and the lawyer and employer must work together to create a satisfactory alternative arrangement. This is especially true of any successful alternative work arrangement in a smaller firm, in which the lawyers may find themselves particularly interdependent.

Thus, any successful arrangement must accommodate not only the parenting needs of the lawyer, but also the responsibilities of the lawyers affected by the arrangement. Of course, the needs of the clients serviced by the lawyer, as well as the economic and practical realities of the practice of law, must be taken into consideration. Simply put, no alternative work arrangement will succeed unless it retains flexibility and is implemented in a way that eases the burdens of all concerned, and assures that all professional obligations are handled satisfactorily.

Even with these challenges, in 1999 parenting lawyers are thriving throughout Philadelphia under a variety of creative alternative work arrangements. Such arrangements vary from reduced schedules to telecommuting, flextime and even job-sharing.

These 1999 revised Model Policies are intended to provide a framework for the development of individualized firm policies. The Model Policies reflect the experiences of Philadelphia lawyers over the past ten years and are intended to encourage both parenting lawyers and their employers to continue to work together to build creative solutions to meet the professional and family commitments of the parenting lawyer. Without a doubt, we as a profession and a community will all benefit from this effort.