Franchise Law Firms and the Transformation of Personal Legal Services

By Jerry Van Hoy | Go to book overview

6
Alienation and Unions

During the 1980s, as women entered law in growing numbers, Arthur & Nelson and Beck & Daniels aggressively sought out female employees.1 Firm management attempted both to exploit lowcost female labor and to capitalize on the view held by many clients that women appear to be more caring. To entice new female law school graduates to accept the modest income and status offered by these firms, interviewers discussed the "mission" of "helping clients overcome personal problems." In addition, interviewers for both firms promised "family friendly" work environments with 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. hours and opportunities for maternity leave. At Arthur & Nelson, employer-provided health insurance was also discussed as a future possibility.

Upon accepting employment, what the women encountered was quite different from the promises. Arthur & Nelson policy includes keeping branch offices open until 7:00 P.M. at least two evenings per week. Managing attorneys are strongly encouraged to open on Saturdays. At Beck & Daniels, two late evenings and Saturday hours are required of all employees on a rotating basis. The promises of health insurance and maternity leave never materialized.

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