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U.S. News & World Report Headline: "The New Mommy Track"

Usnews Attention lawyer moms: we recommend picking up a copy of the latest issue of U.S. News & World Report (September 3, 2007), which features Rachel Thebault, a working mom, and her 2-year old daughter, Marin, on the cover with the headline: "The New Mommy Track: More mothers are finding smart ways to blend work and family. How you can too."

For lawyer moms, there's a profile of Lindsay Androski Kelly, a 30-year old lawyer with a newborn daughter and two-year old son on track to become a partner at her law firm, Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel in Washington D.C. Kelly reports that when she asked the firm about flex-time arrangements during her interview, she was told there was no face-time requirements, as long as the work got done and clients' needs were met. The firm was true to its word: even after Kelly returns to full time work from maternity leave, she will still be permitted to log significant hours working from home.

Other profiles in the article feature women who started their own businesses after being unable to balance work and family at corporate jobs. This suggests that one solution for lawyer moms unable to make a go of it at a large law firm might be to start up their own solo practice.

Reference is also made to several books on the subject of work life balance that readers may find helpful.

There's also information about two work life balance programs instituted at major consulting firms - Pricewaterhouse Coopers' Full Circle program (which enables parents to temporarily stop working but stay in touch with colleagues through networking and training events - the program is credited with dropping the firm's turnover rate from 24% to 15%), and Deloitte & Touche's Mass Career Customization program (which allows employees to personalize their careers to fit their changing lifestyles - for example, young 20-somethings might have few travel restrictions, but then add limitations during child bearing years).  Large law firms with attorney retention issues may want to take a look at these programs.

One interesting finding reported by work/life balance author and researcher Pamela Stone: sometimes just small differences, such as being able to work from home just 1-2 days a month, can make a difference between whether a woman stays at her job, or leaves the workforce. Again, food for thought for large law firms struggling with high turnover.

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