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BigLaw Firm Goes Nuts Expanding Parental Leave

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By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. on May 23, 2016 3:58 PM

The Chicago law firm of Winston & Strawn must be eyeing the prize for most-loved BigLaw firm in the Windy City -- perhaps even the country. Expanding its already generous parental leave program, the firm has decided to up its number of paid weeks to twenty.

To sweeten the deal, the firm is also doing away with "primary" and "secondary" caregivers, thus incenting more men to actually use the numbers allotted to them. What is going on with BigLaw lately? It's gotten so ... likeable.

Leave for Leave

The move to give 20 weeks of paid leave to attorneys across the firm is a monumental move for the BigLaw firm that will hopefully set the tone for others seeing dwindling numbers of new and young attorneys moving into BigLaw. Winston's firm-wide managing partner Tom Fitzgerald certainly feels that way: "In order to retain our outstanding performers and recruit the next generation of leaders for the firm, we need to offer the most competitive benefits and invest in our people," he said.

Generous Perks

The addition of more paid weeks, adjusted billable hours, and an abolition of the "primary/secondary" distinction sure is a plus ... and the company is being so generous! The change is effective immediately and even gets applied to those attorneys already on leave.

Besides the obvious political correctness of the gender-neutral push for paid parental leave, some would argue that it at least reduces some of the incentive for male attorney not to take their hours for fear of hurting their careers or somehow tarnishing their manhood before their colleagues. Yes, it's a real concern.

United States Only

Apparently, the good times are here but only for US-based attorneys.

We like this change in attitude by top brass. Instead of motivating young attorneys through the stick of fear, foment loyalty.

Compare this to de-stress seminars and yoga. Is it us or is it getting touchy feely in here?

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