Ah, The “Mommy Track” At BigLaw – Fast Track To Lower Pay and Marginalization

As you know, we here at FisherBroyles have only wonderful things to say about BigLaw.  Being refugees of BigLaw ourselves, we all loved (among so many other things):

… its cutthroat intra-firm competition (what better way to hone necessary legal skills!);

… its long hours devoted solely, of course, to client interests and personal/professional development;

… its billable hour requirements (my favorite!) under constant computer surveillance, as if on a factory assembly line, which built perseverance, character, and teamwork;

… and – let’s not forget – its subjective (or, rather, arbitrary and usually opaque) compensation decisions and structure – the better to reflect life’s uncertainties and, thus, enhance the critical survival skills needed by a successful lawyer.

What’s not to like?

Did you not enjoy great literature such as Lord of The Flies? Or critically acclaimed reality shows such as Survivor? Life reflects art and law reflects life – and it’s good to know that as a BigLaw denizen you are a part of all of this!

And with the increasing number of discrimination lawsuits filed against BigLaw (think, for example, lack of diversity, sexism, pay discrimination based upon gender and race, white male-on-top pyramid structures – all features and not bugs of BigLaw), who can forget … the many “mommy track” lawsuits that have been filed. 

MoFo, for one, won’t let us forget – as noted recently in Law360, it just “settled with five of the seven female attorneys who alleged in a $200 million proposed class action that it placed them on a less lucrative ‘mommy track,’” which allegedly “hinders their pay and advancement prospects and sometimes leads to them losing their jobs.”

They also alleged that “the firm maintains an ‘old boys’ club’ culture that favors men and childless women by easing their paths to partnership.”

Say it ain’t so MoFo!!

Nah, never mind, don’t waste your money with a long discourse from your PR firm on your progressive pro-women policies – we all know the drill. Just pay the undisclosed settlement amount, issue a quick, perfunctory denial … and get back to what you’ve devoted your lives to. 

I recall my BigLaw gig, where the firm proudly touted its “progressive” policy towards pregnant lawyers or women with kids: work half-time with half-pay!

Sounds great, right?

But getting half-pay for “half-time” in BigLaw is an undefined and therefore ambiguous term, since in BigLaw there is no cap on billable time and the published minimum is simply a floor below which you are out the door. (Like “four week vacation,” or even “no limit vacation” … no BigLawyer in her right mind would dare take off even two weeks, which is why the probably futile “lawyer mental health” movement is pushing for mandatory vacations).

So what does “half-time” mean?

In practical terms, it means getting paid half of your previous compensation for billing more like 85% or more of your previous hours.

What a great deal for BigLaw! And it sound so progressive – in theory!

So here’s to BigLaw … and the “mommy track” by which it makes even more money!

Is there an alternative??

Yes.  It’s us – just click here:  fisherbroyles.com.  Or contact me.

Why should you do this?  It’s only your life!

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 119 other subscribers

Posted in

Richard Cohen

Richard B. Cohen is a partner in the New York City office of FisherBroyles, LLP, a national law firm. Richard Cohen has litigated and arbitrated complex corporate, commercial and employment disputes for more than 35 years, and is a trusted advisor to business owners and in-house counsel both in the United States and internationally. His clients have included Fortune 100 companies, domestic and foreign commercial and investment banks, Pacific-rim corporations and real estate development companies, as well as start-up businesses throughout the United States. Email Richard at [email protected]