Working parents face a lot of challenges, especially those in the demanding legal profession. But a Sioux Falls law firm was named one of the "50 Best Law Firms for Women," by Working Mother and Flex-Time Lawyers.
Attorney Alison Schellpfeffer has been back on the job for four months after taking three years to stay home and care for her three young children.
"I think I got to that stage, where alright, a little bit of time is okay, but you don't want to go too long; you don't want that degree to get too stale," Schellpfeffer said.
But Schellpfeffer also wanted flexibility to meet the demands of her kids' after school schedules and was pleased to find a law firm that would let her work around them.
"There are only so many hours between school and bedtime to be able to do all those things, and so that seems to work very well for my family," Schellpfeffer.
A generous flex time policy is one of the reasons Lindquist & Vennum was named one of the country's, "50 Best Law Firms for Women."
"Their main focus was that they wanted to attract and maintain qualified people, so they really wanted to make sure everyone was able to work the schedule they needed," Akkerman said.
Attorney Mary Akkerman took a job at Lindquist & Vennum because she was able to work a reduced schedule without derailing her career track.
"I thought maybe it would be a stumbling block--or you can't be a partner if you're working a reduced schedule--and they said, 'Oh, no problem, we have a lot of people that do that,'" Akkerman said.
Of the law firms named best in the country for women, 20 percent of lawyers took advantage of flexible hours and ten percent of attorneys worked reduced hours.
And these family friendly policies are gender neutral.
"Our firm actually offers paternity leave for new dads. So a lot of the benefits that help us win the award as a woman-friendly firm, actually benefit the men too," Akkerman said.
And these female attorneys are proud their firm is raising the bar to allow employees to balance work and family, without holding back their careers.
"It doesn't have to be that way and certainly not at this firm," Akkerman said.
55 percent of the employees at the Sioux Falls Lindquist & Vennum office are women and three of the seven partners are women.
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