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Plan for flexibility

Plan for flexibility

By Sylvie Alston


JustMums Recruitment national recruitment manager Megan Kateiva connects working mothers with employers who offer flexibility. She has worked with lawyers for more than 15 years. Here are her three tips.

Start the conversation early

Start the conversation early about flexible working. Young lawyers need to discuss their career plans with people, within and outside their organisation, to identify whether the culture and mentors or sponsors genuinely embrace flexible working.

Young lawyers should not be hesitant to discuss their long-term career goals. Have the presence of mind to think about your future, go to events about building your personal brand, for example events organised by the General Assembly, the LIV and Victorian Women Lawyers (VWL), and plan for parental leave.

Build a network within and outside your firm

Young lawyers can benefit from having a trusted person or group of people they can speak to about flexible working arrangements. They can build a network within their firm of people who have been through the experience. If they find out during that discussion that their supervisor or employer is not necessarily supportive, they may want to reconsider what is best for them.

At your firm, don’t just read the flexible working policy, find out how many colleagues actually use it and what degree of success they have had. Go outside your firm to find out who has flexible working arrangement and what back-up support networks they rely upon.

Have a positive mindset

This is key to successfully negotiating a flexible working arrangement. If young lawyers can advocate for a flexible working environment years before they think about using the option, then they can create a better culture for the next generation of lawyers.

A common misconception about flexible working is it applies only to lawyers in particular practice areas. Such opportunities are open to all young lawyers regardless of what stage they are in their career. However, some practice areas may be harder than others. Young lawyers can make it work provided they have a strong support network both at home and at the office.

Want to find out more? Register for the LIV's Essential Skills: Returning to work after a period of leave, 27 February, where Sylvie Alston will join Monika Paszkiewicz, Carla Kurzbock, Kinta Riches and Alice Duggan to discuss returning to work in the legal profession. This conference will also include sessions on ethics at work, knowing (and getting) what you are worth and new regulatory policies. For further information, see here.


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