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Exit interviews spur Orrick to adopt generous parental leave policy

Posted By Administration, Friday, May 15, 2015

Originally posted on ABA Journal 

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe is adopting a new parental leave policy designed to retain more women lawyers.

The law firm says its new parental leave policy is the most generous of any major U.S. law firm, the Am Law Daily (sub. req.) reports.

Orrick will offer paid parental leave of 22 weeks and up to nine months of unpaid leave for primary caregivers. Currently the firm offers 18 weeks of paid parental leave and up to seven months of unpaid leave for primary caregivers. A firmwide “leave liaison” will oversee the program.

Though both women and men can take advantage of the parental leave, the program is intended to discourage women from leaving the firm, according to Orrick chairman and CEO Mitchell Zuklie, who spoke with the Am Law Daily.

Zuklie says exit interviews with female lawyers leaving Orrick echo national studies showing the top reason women leave law firms is the inability to balance career and family. “I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say the legal profession is facing a crisis if it doesn’t deal with the problems of the retention of women lawyers,” he says.

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