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Fenwick Expands Parental Leave Policy

Leads with 16 Weeks of Gender-Neutral Parental Bonding Time

November 2, 2018

Fenwick today announced an expanded parental leave program. The program now includes 16 weeks of parental bonding time that applies to all attorney parents, regardless of gender or caregiver status – a market-leading level among large law firms.

Birthing mothers now have 22 weeks of fully paid leave – five and a half months – with the new combination of 16 weeks of parental bonding time in addition to at least 6 weeks of fully paid pregnancy disability leave. Depending on the actual time of disability, fully paid leave can be up to 29 weeks.

“We want all of our professionals to flourish both personally and professionally,” Fenwick managing partner Rodger Cole said. “Programs like the new parental leave policy reflect our continuing investment and dedication towards that goal.”

“Our new policy is terrific, and I’m proud that Fenwick has taken the lead in recognizing how important parental bonding time is,” Fenwick corporate associate Lara Foster said.

“Fenwick continues to be committed to diversity and workplace culture,” Fenwick senior director of human resources Gwen Bazella said. “This expanded program was a direct reflection of ongoing dialogue with our professionals and takes into account their feedback.”

Fenwick continues to enhance the ways it supports parents who return to work. The firm offers access to consultants and coaches to help with back-to-work transitions, backup daycare and other childcare resources, a milk-shipping program for nursing mothers who travel on business, and privacy rooms in all firm offices, including the option to install privacy blinds for mothers who prefer the option to pump in their own office.

Attorneys also have access to two nationally-recognized Fenwick programs – the Transition Mentor Program and the Parents Affinity Group. The Transition Mentor Program provides associates who are expectant mothers their choice of a mentor who can support them not only before their leave, but also during their leave and after they return to the workplace. The Parents Affinity Group – one of the many affinity groups at Fenwick – helps formalize the peer support network of Fenwick parents and organizes various family events to further build community. These programs are in addition to Fenwick’s existing Reintegration Program – one of several flexible work options – which allows associates to select a reduced schedule for a period of time after returning from their leave. Fenwick also offers creditable hours for workload transition time spent during periods right before and after a leave.

As part of the expanded parental leave policy, the firm has also increased paid parental leave for other professionals in the firm to comparable levels.

Fenwick has been recognized by Working Mother as one of the Best Law Firms for Women​, which honors U.S. law firms that exemplify best practices for retaining and promoting women lawyers. The firm was also recognized among the Best Places to Work in the Bay Area by the San Francisco Business Times and the Silicon Valley Business Journal for the twelfth consecutive year.

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