Aon | Professional Services Practice
Release Date: May 2022
Major U.S. Law Firms Invest in Non-Traditional Benefits for Attorneys and Staff
In February 2022, the Professional Services Practice at Aon’s Health and Benefits team conducted a survey focused on four key areas: Time Away, Family Building, Wellbeing Programs, and the Future of Work.
The results of Aon’s 2022 U.S. Law Firm Work/Life Benefit Survey demonstrate the unprecedented investments made by Am Law 200 firms in the overall wellbeing of their attorneys and staff as the war for talent intensifies.
The Time Away section gathered data on sick and vacation time for attorneys and staff as well as other common time away programs like bereavement or compassionate leave and some less common but emerging programs like caregiving leave and sabbaticals. The most notable result was the extent to which “unlimited paid time off (PTO)” arrangements have caught on at law firms – 62% of respondents have a program like this for their attorney populations. Also known as “discretionary time off” or “flexible time off”, employees, as long as there is no disruption to their practice or department, are encouraged to take time as it suits them rather than being given a set number of days.
The survey data in the Family Building section touches on medical benefits, adoption benefits, leave benefits, and other HR and firm policies aimed at helping their employees build families. While tech companies are often seen as the first movers in this area, law firms have recently made major strides. The survey indicated that fertility treatments like IVF, for example, were covered in the medical plans of 81% of respondents and large majorities indicated that their firms provide paid bonding leave for their attorneys and staff when they welcome children to their families. The data also indicated that law firms are considering enhancing how they support employees who choose to build their families by means of adoption.
Law firms recognize the importance of holistic programs that focus on both physical and emotional wellbeing. Many have taken action to create a culture of caring and acceptance. However, they recognize that there is still work to be done. The wellbeing results found that 78% of respondents have a designated wellbeing leader within either the partnership ranks or business services, or both. The data also highlighted that firms are attempting to connect their wellbeing programs with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) initiatives and are searching for better effectiveness measurements for these programs.
Future of Work
The survey ended with a series of questions about the “future of work”. Most notably, 79% of respondents expect all or most of their workforces to be eligible for a hybrid work arrangement. While the definition of “hybrid” will vary by firm, it is generally understood to mean that a worker will report to an office location on some days and work remotely on other days. In addition to current attorneys and staff working from home more often, some firms no longer consider it necessary for certain applicants to live near a firm office and may even be actively recruiting for certain positions to be done virtually. This will present interesting and challenging questions about compensation programs, compliance with state and local labor regulations, and attorney licensing requirements.
The full report is available here Registration is required.
The Professional Services Practice at Aon values your feedback. To discuss any of the topics raised in this article, please contact Mark Scarafone or Peggy Sheedy or Jake Delman.
Senior Vice President and Health & Benefits Leader
Vice President and Director