Formidable lawyers prove part-time work is effective

A list of successful corporate part-timers shows that flexible working doesn’t have to hinder a legal career.

This year’s Part-Time Power List is proof that part-time and flexible workers can still make waves at the top end of town.

Profiling 26 corporate leaders, including five prominent lawyers, the list researched by and published on Women’s Agenda this morning, includes many corporate powerhouses all working with flexible employers.

ProfessionalMums CEO Kate Mills said the false perception that part-time work is career-stunter, is slowly changing.

“It used to be that if you chose to work flexibly or part-time you were perceived as not being serious about your career and relegated to less serious roles,” she said.

“This year’s part-time powerful people are at the top of their game running large teams and working in traditional disciplines such as mergers and acquisition.”
McCullough Robertson Lawyers partner Samantha Daly works a four-day-week with one day from home.  She said she has never felt as though working part-time would hinder her career.

“I have been working flexibly since I started with McCullough Robertson and as a partner was initially working three days a week, increasing to four days this year,” she told Australasian Lawyer.

“I honestly believe that part-time workers are not only incredibly efficient and productive, but are also engaged, committed and happy at work.

“The most significant challenge I see going forward is getting to a position in the legal industry where men are comfortable to seek flexible working arrangements and breaking down the assumption that flexible work is only a ‘female issue’.  The more that people see flexible work working around them, the more they will believe.”

While Daly partially puts her success down to having a support firm, she said women need to put themselves forward for promotions in order to conquer unconscious bias.

“The ability to ‘lean in’ is critical if women are going to progress their career in what is largely a male dominated environment, particularly at the senior levels within a firm,” Daly said.

“Women need to back themselves, identify their ‘champions’ within an organisation and fight the ‘but I don’t think I am quite ready for that yet’ feeling in order to have the courage to put their hand up for promotion and/or pay increases as their male counterparts are doing.”

Suncorp associate general counsel, Michelle Bain, Serco Asia Pacific legal counsel, Anna Kuperman and Arup principal/ regional legal counsel, Kiri Parr as well as The Fred Hollows Foundation general counsel jobsharers, Soraya Mir and Katrin O’Sullivan, were the other lawyers profiled in this year’s list.

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