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View More Press Releases by Greensfelder

Press release:

Greensfelder Among Law Firm Leaders in Work / Life Balance, Including New Ramp-Down / Ramp-Up Policy to Support New Parents

Issued by: Greensfelder

Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ST. LOUIS - Sept. 10, 2019 - As more law firms of all sizes become increasingly responsive to work / life balance for young attorneys - especially from the Millennial Generation - St. Louis-based Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale, P.C., has become an early adopter of an innovative ramp-down / ramp-up policy on reintegration for attorneys who take extended parental or medical leaves.

The ramp-down / ramp-up policy, which also applies to paralegals, is part of the firm's wider strategy to more fully support new parents in the transition periods before and after the birth or adoption of a child.

"As a mid-size law firm, we are excited to be on the forefront in the legal industry with progressive programs that appeal to the current generation of lawyers," said Mollie Farrell, Greensfelder's director of professional development. "It is in the best interest of the firm overall to have a process for a smooth and efficient transition to and from extended leave. We believe this update to our policy benefits our attorneys, their families, and the clients we serve."

Greensfelder's ramp-down / ramp-up policy on reintegration is for attorneys who take extended parental or medical leaves certified to be six weeks or longer. The changes allow attorneys to more easily transition matters to colleagues before taking leave, and then integrate back into work afterward.

The new policy provides an automatic reduction in the billable hours expectation for 30 days before the leave and for 60 days afterward. Those adjusted expectations reduce the attorney's total number of billable hours expected for the year, without affecting her or his regular compensation. The policy also involves close coordination with the attorney's practice group leader to ensure proper communication when an employee takes and returns from leave.

"In conjunction with parental leave, the ramp-down / ramp-up policy is an important part of Greensfelder's benefits package that we hope will attract more lawyers seeking robust parental support policies, as well as help retain talented attorneys who might otherwise be inclined to alter their career paths because of the stress and demands from becoming new parents," Ms. Farrell added.

Other key aspects of Greensfelder's Parental Support Program include milk-shipping services for breastfeeding mothers who travel for work, as well as the online course Mindful Return, which is designed to help new parents navigate their parental leave and their return to work. Greensfelder also recently updated its parental leave policy to provide two additional weeks of paid leave for new parents to care and bond with their child

"Ramp-down / ramp-up is a very necessary program," says Caitlin M. Meyers, a Greensfelder associate who was the firm's first attorney to reap the benefits of the policy this year when she was pregnant with her first child, Quinn. "It relieved a lot of stress that comes with billing while planning for leave, and it really helped me ease back into my pre-leave workload after I returned.

"Looking back, I cannot imagine not having access to the benefits the policy provides," Ms. Meyers added. "I think it's the kind of program that really appeals to new parents and young attorneys thinking about planning for a family while also pursuing a law career. It also helps to foster a family-friendly culture."

Ms. Farrell said she believes that policies like ramp-down / ramp-up not only are the right approach for supporting new parents, but they also are beneficial in attracting the best talent to the firm.

Greensfelder has a long history as a leader among law firms for alternative work arrangements and assistance for working parents, with other support and initiatives that include:

  • An option for attorneys to work part time, with part-time associates retaining eligibility for promotion to Officer (partner equivalent);
  • A mentor program for new parents that pairs attorneys and paralegals with colleagues who can advise them on handling a new balance of professional and family demands;
  • An employee assistance program (EAP) designed for support, coaching or resolving personal matters (e.g., work/life balance, as well as marital, financial, emotional and family issues, etc.); and
  • On-site lactation facilities for professionals and staff - Greensfelder was the first firm in St. Louis to provide such facilities - including a locked "mother's room" with a mini-fridge for expressed milk and available space for breastfeeding mothers to pump after their return to work. Employees who wish to pump in their offices are provided with their own mini-fridges.
Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale, P.C., founded in 1895, is a full-service law firm with offices in St. Louis, Chicago and Belleville, Ill.  Greensfelder offers comprehensive legal solutions for clients locally, nationally and internationally. Areas of practice include business services; communications and media; construction; educational, religious and tax-exempt organizations; employee benefits; employment and labor; energy; franchising and distribution; health care; intellectual property; litigation; real estate; securities and financial services; and trusts and estates.  Find out more at www.greensfelder.com.

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