FLEX by Fenwick was featured by Bloomberg BNA as an innovator in the quest to achieve work-life balance for lawyers.
Though many models exist for more flexible or part-time legal careers, Bloomberg identified Fenwick as the only firm “that has an established flexible program that is essentially a firm-within-a firm,” citing an interview with Joan Williams, director of the Center for WorkLife Law at USC’s Hasting’s College of Law.
Launched in 2010, Fenwick’s FLEX has swelled from six to about 70 lawyers, including former Fenwick associates, lawyers from other firms and former in-house lawyers. The program offers legal services at lower prices while also giving lawyers more flexible hours. Half the lawyers work a maximum of 10 hours per week, while others work full days that mirror their clients’ workdays. They are compensated similarly to in-house lawyers.
Fenwick partner Ralph Pais founded FLEX with former Fenwick associate Alexandra Smith to offer more affordable legal services for the firm’s existing clients. For their daily legal needs, many clients “only needed to negotiate a few provisions in their contracts. As a result, these clients said they needed a less costly alternative,” Pais told Bloomberg.
“We decided it was worth pursuing a different model,” said Pais. The FLEX program shrinks fees from one-third to one-half of normal rates and retained clients who would have taken their smaller legal needs elsewhere. Aside from business realities, Pais said that Fenwick felt it was important to offer lawyers an alternative to the traditional lawyer lifestyle.
“We realized we could create a career path opportunity that people would feel they were successful and affiliated with a top organization,” he said.
The full article is available through Bloomberg BNA’s website.