Knowledge Center

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt: Lawyers State Their Case on Job Flexibility

This report shows that lawyers, particularly women lawyers, continue to perceive flexibility options as detrimental to their careers. In this third and final report in Catalyst’s series on Flexibility in Canadian Law Firms, lawyers state their case on job flexibility. They suggest what needs to happen to law firm work environments in order to combat the negative experiences lawyers have with flexibility in their firms.

Approximately one in four Canadian lawyers (employed in law firms) reported ever having used a flexible work arrangement (FWA). However, most still perceive them to be career-limiting. Just one in five (22 percent) didn’t believe that a lawyer who took advantage of flexible arrangements would automatically be sent to “the B team.” Also, a majority of lawyers didn’t believe that lawyers who used either full- or part-time FWAs could ever become partner. More than half of women lawyers said they believed their FWA participation limited their professional development and made them appear less committed to their firms (versus only 21 percent of men who had used FWAs).

Lead Sponsors: Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP; Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP; McCarthy Tetrault LLP; Ogilvy Renault; Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt, LLP

Participating Sponsors: Blake, Cassels & Graydon, LLP; Borden Ladner Gervais, LLP; Goodmans LLP; McMillan Binch LLP; Torys LLP