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Will Day Care Centers Keep Dad-Lawyers at Work?

More often than not, the discussion of work-life balance at law firms focuses on working moms. But long workdays at a firm impact entire families, dads included. And as this post from JD Bliss points out, many lawyer-dads are grateful for on-site law firm day care, explaining that it's one of the benefits that keeps them at the firm.

Law firm on-site day care programs are discussed in further detail in this Legal Times piece, Can On-Site Day Care Stem Lawyer Attrition? The article reports on several Washington, D.C., firms that have opened on-site day care centers, which are touted as offering a win-win situation for parents and their children. And day care is a  good recruitment tool as well; at least some lawyers who worked at the firm as summer associates and noted the presence of children later chose the firm because of the availability of day care.

Still, does on-site day care really help achieve work-life balance -- or merely make it easier for parents to work longer hours while shifting the stress of the workday commute to their children? Consider this alleged benefit of on-site day care from the article:

An hour commuting in the car may not be high-quality time, but many parents like the idea that, instead of rushing to pick up their kid elsewhere, they get the entire ride home to talk about the new baby gerbils or the visit to the museum. When that's added to the drop-in convenience of an on-site center, employees might be encouraged to stay with the firm, at least until the children are in school.

As an adult, I don't relish an hourlong commute; why would a child consider this daily grind enjoyable?

Though on-site day care may not be the answer to work-life balance, there's hope for better solutions. As the JD Bliss post and Legal Times article show, child care is not just a woman's issue, which means that law firms may become more receptive to new ideas for achieving work-life balance.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on September 13, 2007 at 03:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

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