Our take on promoting gender equality
In the course of our junior staff development and recruiting activities, we observed early on that it is precisely the most talented female graduates and trainee lawyers who often decide against a career in a law firm and instead opt for jobs in companies and the public sector, in the name of greater flexibility and more security especially when it comes to starting a family.
In 2013, following an internal discussion process, we developed a scheme that strikes a balance between career and family and, above all, provides competitive conditions to young mothers enabling them to become partners in the firm. This parental leave model took into account several aspects that are of particular importance to young female lawyers and mothers, including
Baby bonus instead of career setbacks
The participation model of the partnership, in which, as with a typical lock-step system, the share increases with the years of practice, was modified in such a way that maternity leave will no longer necessarily interrupt the participation development of the partners. As a result, maternity leave will not cause a career setback; on the contrary, the participation will grow appropriately as the family grows.
More flexibility – in terms of time, place, organization
We use the new technologies to make working life more flexible for young mothers by
- flexible working hours: young mothers are free to chose their hours of presence in the office and availability to clients as fits their family needs. They may take time off or be on maternity leave for several years for childcare; we also offer part-time schemes.
- flexible workplace – home office: working at home allows parents to take care of family needs and occasions.
- flexible organization: even within our own organization, we strive to accommodate the family needs of our partners, for example by adjusting internal schedules to family-friendly time slots (e.g., by scheduling monthly site meetings from evening to lunchtime).
It is important to us that our partners remain members of the Bar during their maternity leaves. Therefore, we reimburse them for the professional association dues, so our female lawyers do not have to leave the Bar and can re-start their practice at any time that suits their needs.
Further development / projects
Since family circumstances of mothers may vary and the legal framework is subject to change (most recently, social security laws were amended in early 2016), the maternity leave model in our firm is considered a framework that is constantly being adjusted to fit changing needs and conditions.
Our partner Daniela Huemer is a supporter of the Institute for Lawyers’ Law at the University of Linz (JKU) in her capacity as member of the advisory board. The Institute will initiate a project to highlight parental leave and part-time working hour schemes that have already been and still are in place. As a law firm, it is our goal to play an active role in this project and help improve the overall conditions for women in the legal profession.
Female lawyers at Haslinger / Nagele
We take great pride in the fact that we are winning women (and mothers) to work in law firms. As was emphasized in the laudation at the JUVE Award 2018, ‘when it comes to promoting women, the firm stands out anyway: Almost a quarter of the partners are now female and almost half of all lawyers of the firm are female’. What strikes us as most remarkable is that in recent years an above-average number of female partners have joined our firm.
In addition, the firm also strives to create and offer attractive schemes for (young) fathers. In May/June 2019, one of our trainees took advantage of what in Austria is called ‘one month off for young dads’ for the first time, and in the summer of 2020 our firm saw the debut of paternity leave.
- Daniela Huemer, The Perfect Match. How can we succeed in attracting more women to the legal profession?, AnwBl 2021, 642
- Johanna Fischer in interview with DIE MACHER („Mirror, mirror on the wall of the chancery wall„)
- Women in Law Award 2019 (winner in the best lawfirms category)
- JUVE Award 2018 (Austrian Law Firm of the Year)
- podcast with Daniela Huemer at rechteasy.at
- portrait of Julia Goth (‘Often the only woman in the room’), Sheconomy
- Kerstin Holzinger, honorary member of Women in Law
- Daniela Huemer, advisory board member at the Institute for Lawyer’s Law
- Kerstin Holzinger and Daniela Huemer on their careers as partners (‘Equal play for all’), JUVE
- portrait of Haslinger / Nagele (‘Women are [always] right’), Chefinfo
- portrait of Haslinger / Nagele (‘Yes, we do think we’re a bit cooler than others’), Die Macher