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« More Large Law Firms Such as Skadden Arps and Debevoise & Plimpton Seek to Improve Attorney Retention by Letting Lawyers Return to Firms After Extended Leaves of Absence | Main | Lauren Stiller Rikleen Nominated to ABA Board of Governors »

Work Life Winner: Skadden Arps Introduces Sidebar and FRM: Two New Programs Addressing Lawyer Work Life Balance

Skadden Arps recently introduced two new innovative work life balance programs.

According to the firm, the Flexible Return from Maternity ("FRM;" pronounced "firm") program provides greater flexibility to women returning from maternity leave by allowing them to design their own return schedule – either reduced hours or a combination of office and home days – during a defined period of time, not to exceed one year. As a complement to the Firm's reduced-hours policy, which allows attorneys to work a reduced schedule on a long-term basis, FRM provides a gradual progression back to a regular schedule. Although the program is primarily designed to make it more feasible for women to return to work after the birth or adoption of a child, it may also be made available to men.

Through Sidebar, Skadden attorneys in good standing may decide to leave the firm for any number of personal reasons for up to three years (more than the six-month maximum permitted under a leave of absence), with the expectation that they will return to the firm at the end of that period consistent with the needs of the firm and their department. The firm expects and encourages Sidebar participants to remain connected, for example, by attending certain firm-sponsored events and gatherings and continuing legal education programs.

These are only two of among several initiatives at Skadden to help both men and women attorneys better balance their work and personal responsibilities.

Considering that Skadden is one of the largest law firms in the world, and one to which other firms look to for innovation, we're impressed by the extent of the firm's commitment to work life balance. For this reason, we award Skadden our "Work Life Balance Winner" award. The largest firm to receive the designation to date. 

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