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Del Monte Foods Co. Encourages Law Firms To Implement Women-Friendly Policies

December 3, 2009: 03:44 PM EST
Motivated by the Diversity & Flexibility Connection initiative from the Project for Attorney Retention (PAR), Del Monte has been questioning law firms about their part-time and flexible work policies, believing these will boost the number of women working at law firms. The company also indicated it wants at least some part-time attorneys handling its legal matters. Del Monte’s move follows its work with PAR and a dozen major corporations to identify obstacles to part-time schedules and ways of overcoming them in hopes of preventing women lawyers from leaving firms. Poor female representation remains a serious problem; The National Law Journal's 2009 survey of the nation's 250 largest firms found that women make up 45 percent of associates but just 17 percent of partners; a 2007 Massachusetts Institute of Technology Workplace Center study found 15% of women partners leave against 1% of male partners, with over 60% of departing women cite difficulties balancing work and family. While almost all major law firms have polices allowing part-time and flexible work schedules, stigmas associated with it mean few attorneys adopt it – just 5.6% of lawyers, according to a National Association for Law Placement study. Del Monte’s efforts are part of a broader move to destigmatize part-time and flexible work to boost female representation at law firms.
Karen Sloan, "Legal departments look to boost number of women", National Law Journal, December 03, 2009, © ALM Media Properties, LLC.
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