In her On Balance column today, Washington Poster Leslie Morgan Steiner shines a light on the, um, reluctance of "the largest, most prestigious" law firms to acknowledge "work-life balance". 

She cites a FACTS program, by the founder of FlexTime Lawyers, for making work and life friends again:

Fixed — More predictable hours, lower-profile work assignments.

Annualized — Intense periods of high-profile work followed by relative lulls.

Core — Blocks of key hours on a predictable schedule that allows for time with kids, e.g., 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. or 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Targeted — On an annual basis, all lawyers "target" or project how many hours they willwork, and take ownership of the schedule (and compensation structure) they commit to.

Shared — Two or more attorneys sharing high-profile, high-intensity assignments.

If FACTS sounds too touchy-feely, Blawgletter invites you to get over it.  Law school graduates who care about balancing work and life not only outnumber those who don’t nowadays; they also outperform them, during law school and after.  A disproportionate number drop out of extreme law firm competition not out of weakness but because their priorities don’t include dominating others.  And, whether you like it or not, a growing number of them will become key decision-makers — including on the bench and in corporate law departments.

We don’t know if FACTS will catch on or even if it should.  But we do know that hot shot law firms ignore their new bosses’ instinct — that diversity and balance promote teamwork, enhance strength, and foster ethical behavior — at their peril.

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