Work-Life Balance

Want associate work with fewer hours? Hundreds seek 'department attorney' jobs at Kilpatrick

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When an Atlanta recruiter advertised for a new “department attorney” position at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, he received 412 responses on just the first day.

The law firm has hired five department attorneys, positions that offer the same work handled by traditional associates, but with a reduced workload of 1,600 billable hours and without partnership-track status, according to the Daily Report. Three of the positions are in Atlanta, one is in New York and the fifth is in Raleigh, N.C.

Kathryn Isted is one of the department attorneys. She told the Daily Report that most days she works from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., doing the same kind of work she handled at Wargo & French and Greenberg Traurig.

“I’m happy not to be on the partnership track, so I have more time with my daughter—but that may not be what I want forever,” Isted told the publication. “That’s why I wasn’t interested in a staff or contract attorney position—because it could be more difficult to get back on the partnership track down the road.”

Kilpatrick chairman Paul Aguggia said the department attorney program allows the firm “to tap into an incredible pool of talent,” especially among mothers seeking work-life balance. He said his wife told him she would still be practicing law if that option were available 20 years ago.

Aguggia expects Kilpatrick to add more department attorneys, but that doesn’t mean the firm will cut the number of traditional associates, he says.

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