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Robins Kaplan Expands Parental Leave Benefits

June 21, 2016, 11:40 PM

In an effort to provide greater flexibility for its staff and attorneys, the national trial firm Robins Kaplan announced Tuesday it will offer birth mothers 10 additional weeks of paid parental leave on top of the standard six-week benefit, for a total of up to 16 paid weeks.

It also announced all firm employees, including new fathers and adoptive parents can take 10 weeks paid parental leave.

“People are our most valued asset, and we are committed to investing in them to make them successful,” managing partner Steve Schumeister said in an interview.

The firm is rolling out several additional benefits to assist attorneys when they come back to work after parental leave.

The benefits include a ramp-up period, which will allow attorneys to increase the intensity of their practice, including the number of hours worked at their own pace for up to three months upon their return without any change in compensation; a parental leave mentoring program that will be administered by the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Department; and an alternative work arrangements policy that provides options for increased flexibility.

The upgrades are part of Robins Kaplan’s “Leaders Engaged in the Advancement of Diversity” (LEAD) initiative, established last year by the firm’s executive board to enhance recruitment, retention, and advancement of women, people of color, and LGBT individuals, according to Diane Frick, chief talent officer for the firm.

Increasing support for working parents is one of eight tactics identified within the initiative. Others include expanding the firm’s 1L program to increase the number of diverse entry-level attorneys at the firm, implementing the “Rooney Rule” for lateral associate candidates to ensure that diverse candidates are considered for each open associate position, and conducting training throughout the firm to increase awareness as to the impact of unconscious bias.

“When you consider and understand the challenges of balancing work and family, we want to offer the benefits they need to be successful in both areas,” said Schumeister.