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Aussie Researcher to Study Whether Extended Leave, Flexible Hours Affect Partnership Chances

Posted Mar 25, 2011 5:30 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Does an extended leave or a flexible work schedule affect an associate’s chances of winning partnership?

Australian doctoral candidate Elisabeth Hetterich hopes to learn the answers to those questions by researching the factors that influence law firm partnership decisions, report the New Lawyer and Queensland University of Technology.

Hetterich, a former solicitor, says it’s clear that that long hours and high billings are a big part of the equation. But research shows other factors also may be at work, including the amount of leave time that is taken.

"Long periods of leave could actually be beneficial to the firm when the person returns enriched and renewed by their experiences, but it is not clear yet whether it can affect promotion to partner,” Hetterich tells the New Lawyer.

She is also looking at the effect of mentoring and the exodus of younger lawyers from the profession.

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