From The President, 0419 WYBJ, Vol. 42 No. 3. 10

Author:Weston T. Graham Barney & Graham, LLC Sheridan, Wyoming
Position:Vol. 42 3 Pg. 10
 
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From the President

Vol. 42 No. 3 Pg. 10

Wyoming Bar Journal

April, 2019

Creating

a Family-Friendly Firm

Weston

T. Graham Barney & Graham, LLC Sheridan, Wyoming

Child

care is not a women’s issue. For this month’s

column, I was asked to write about making law offices more

child-friendly for female employees. The reasons for this

request I assume were because 1) I am likely uniquely

qualified having myself created a fully-licensed and insured

in-house child care center as a benefit for the attorneys and

staff of my firm; and 2) caring for children is perceived to

be one of the major hurdles and choices for the women lawyers

of today, and is quite possibly a deciding factor in her

ultimate long-term career advancement and success. Does

anyone reading this article think I would have received the

same request for giving advice on child care options had this

edition of the Wyoming Lawyer been instead focused

on men?

By the

way, child care is not a men’s issue either. Child care

is a family issue, plain and simple. Family issues (such as

affordable housing, good schools, a safe neighborhood, etc.)

affect the family unit as a whole. And in case you

didn’t know, family units are made up of (and are being

led by) partners in firms, associates, and staff, regardless

of whether they are men or women. If a family is disrupted,

especially on a continual basis, so too are employers. It

sounds kind of terrible to phrase it this way, but probably

the most perpetually disruptive thing one can do during the

course of his or her career is to have a child. And usually,

having and raising children comes at a critical stage of a

legal career, i.e., the relative beginning at a time when the

lawyer is still learning, building a practice, and gaining

necessary experience.

So how

can employers help with a non work-related issue that clearly

affects an employee and his or her work without an employer

potentially overstepping any boundaries? An answer, in my

opinion, is to have a type of child care option(s) available

at or facilitated through your office.

Define

Your Culture

As an

employer, first try to avoid entering the competition between

the priority an employee places on his or her family versus

his or her job/the firm's interests. Don’t make the

employee choose. When push comes to shove and the inevitable

confrontation arises, the employee has to opt for

his/ her family and its needs...

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