Women accounted for just 16.5 percent of law partners in 2013, despite the fact that they graduated from law school in equal numbers during the previous decade. Being a law partner inducts you into a high-pressure system with long hours and limited flexibility. It’s the kind of job that practically requires a stay-at-home spouse in order to keep any kind of a personal life running smoothly. But, that arrangement isn’t available to everyone. Some ambitious lawyers are left wondering how they can do both – that is, be a lawyer and have a life, and maybe even a family. At the Geller Law Group, an all-woman firm, it just might be possible.
(Photo Credit: toridawnrector/Flickr)
Rebecca Geller launched The Geller Law Group just a few years ago, with the feeling that there might be a better way. Indeed, this small firm is breaking exciting ground, and there is a lot they can teach us about how companies can support work/life balance. Let’s take a closer look at how they make it all work.
1. It’s a small firm, and, right now, it’s all women.
It’s easy to get lost in a big company. Small numbers keep everyone connected and communicating in a way that allows for greater flexibility. GLG doesn’t hire only women on principle (men have worked there previously) but right now it’s all women – six to be exact. The small size of the firm helps individuals manage projects and support each other, which allows for greater flexibility.
2. There is no permanent office.
The women on GLG have no permanent office, but instead work with Metro Offices to rent shared work spaces as needed. This practice encourages people to work from home and on their own schedules. The idea is also overtly emphasized as a part of the group’s philosophy. Geller said:
“My old firm would drive me bonkers. If I have a slow week, why can’t I take a day, run errands? You’d better believe, when something urgent comes in, I’m going to work an all-nighter.”
3. Family-friendliness is a guiding principle.
In order to make a balanced life actually happen, it has to be an absolute top priority. At GLG, flexibility and work/life balance serve as guiding principles of the firm. They aren’t secondary promises kept when it’s convenient and easy to do so – they are a real part of the heart and soul of the company.
4. Everyone participates.
When every employee embraces these kinds of practices, the pressure goes away to work differently. Also, the women of GLG learn a lot from one another, about how to wedge periods of work into their family schedule, for example. Because everyone buys into this philosophy, and lives it in practice, they are able to learn from each other and support one another.
The partners of The Geller Law Group still work around 60 hours a week, and while Geller earns a comfortable six-figure salary, she knows it’s less that she’d earn somewhere else. Still, for her and the women she works with, the flexibility and balance the job affords can’t be beat. Perhaps other firms, or companies from other industries, should consider adopting some of these policies and practices. There’s quite a lot to be gained from them.
Tell Us What You Think
What do you think about The Geller Law Group and the way they run their business? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.