The eight lawyers who prove that part-time working is no barrier

Law firms are making a lot of noise about diversity these days, and rightly so – many firms’ statistics remain woeful.

So it’s good to see a celebration of those lawyers who have managed to successfully balance their work and home lives. A total of eight lawyers, all women, are named in today’s Part Time Power List, which picks out 50 professionals who work on a part-time basis.

The eight lawyers – four partners in private practice, three in-housers and a associate – all work part-time to a varying degree. Herbert Smith Freehills partner Susan Black, for instance, helped pioneer part-time working at the firm and has now worked on a 70 per cent contract for over a decade.

The list’s publication comes in the same week that new rules on shared parental leave became law. From April, parents will be able to share a year’s parental leave between them. And law firms appear to be embracing the change, with several going above and beyond the legal requirements.

All this is a welcome step in the right direction, but it’s far too soon to see if such changes will actually make a shift in diversity in the profession.

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