In the last recession (i.e. way back in the early “aughts”), work/life balance took a back seat at law firms. During that time frame, I sat on the Boston Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Work/Life Balance and heard many discussions about how large law firms are unwilling to focus on the issue at a time of economic stress. Will anything change this time around?
It is hard to say; but several organizations have joined together to launch a new initiative called Balanomics. The organizers of Balanomics are taking the position that work/life balance is important in good time and in bad times. The sponsors include Flex-time Lawyers, a number of bar associations, several major law firms, and two corporate legal departments. According to the Balanomics website:
Balanomics©¢ is premised on the understanding that improving work/life balance for attorneys will minimize the costs and negative consequences that result from loss and lack of productivity of high performers. The Balanomics©¢ mission is to improve work/life balance, profitability, and productivity in the profession by enhancing the retention, promotion, and professional satisfaction of talented attorneys. The goal is to achieve this by encouraging a work/life culture that emphasizes work quality, flexibility, responsiveness, and accessibility rather than face time.