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BigLaw firm hopes to retain more female lawyers with expanded maternity leave policy

Posted Oct 29, 2013 11:17 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Holland & Knight is giving parents more generous leave time in hopes of attracting and retaining more female lawyers.

The firm has expanded paid maternity leave from 12 to 16 weeks and paid leave for adoptive parents from six to 10 weeks, the Daily Business Review reports.

The firm is also giving ramp-down and ramp-up periods to lawyers who take six or more weeks of paid leave. “This means their billable hours will be annualized for an additional four weeks of time, giving them a grace period to return to a normal work level,” the story says.

The firm believes its new benefits are the most generous in Florida, where lawyers generally get 12 weeks of paid maternity leave. Many New York firms, however, already offer 16 weeks of paid maternity leave, the story says.

Legal recruiter Kendall Sharp of Search for Excellence told the Daily Business Review that female job hunters often ask about maternity policies, and the new policy is bound to help the law firm attract and retain women. “We're seeing more and more women who don't come back after maternity leave because the schedule is so grueling,” she said. “They are expected to jump back on a speeding train. So the ramp down and ramp up periods will be helpful."

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