Maternity, Paternity and Adoption Benefits at Large Firms in Texas

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Texas Lawyer asked the 25 largest firms in Texas to describe the maternity/paternity/adoption benefits they offer to associates/non-equity partners and equity partners, in addition to the benefits required by the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA). The 25 firms are listed on Texas Lawyer's The Texas 100 poster published April 30, 2012.
— Jeanne Graham

Firm Maternity/Paternity Policy for Associates and Non-Equity Partners Maternity/Paternity Policy for Equity Partners Adoption Policy
Andrews Kurth Eighteen weeks of paid leave will be provided to attorneys who are primary child-care providers upon the birth or adoption of a child, at the attorney's regular rate of pay. Additionally, two weeks of paid leave will be provided to nonpartner attorneys who are secondary child-care providers in connection with the birth or adoption of a child, at the nonpartner attorney's regular rate of pay. Such leave may be used after, or in preparation for, the birth or adoption of a child, but must be used within 12 months of the arrival of the child. It is anticipated that in most circumstances the applicable parental leave will be taken consecutively. If both parents work for the firm and are eligible for paid parental leave under this policy with respect to the birth or adoption of a child, the aggregate number of weeks of such leave to which they together are entitled is limited to 18 weeks within the 12-month period of the arrival of the child. Any additional leave taken beyond the 18-week period will be unpaid, if granted. Leave taken under this policy shall be treated as part of and applied against leave to which an attorney is otherwise entitled under the firm's family and medical leave policy, the firm's other leave policies, the firm's other sponsored benefits and similar state laws. In particular cases, there may be facts that will warrant the firm's making an exception to the general policy stated above. Same as associates and non-equity partners. See maternity/paternity policy.
Baker Botts The firm's maternity/paternity benefits include leave with full pay for a period up to 12 weeks. Accrued vacation may also be used to extend the leave. An additional 12 weeks without pay may be taken at the discretion of the firm. The firm's maternity/paternity policy is the same for all lawyers. The firm's maternity/paternity policy includes the placement of a child with the lawyer for adoption or foster care.
Bracewell & Giuliani The primary caretaker can take up to 18 weeks of paid leave, and the nonprimary caretaker can take up to two weeks of paid leave. All partners can take time off to parent. Same as leave policy for childbirth under FMLA.
Cox Smith Matthews In addition to FMLA, leave is paid at 100 percent of salary. 12 weeks of paid FMLA leave. 12 weeks of paid FMLA leave.
Fulbright & Jaworski The firm offers 14 weeks of paid maternity leave and four weeks of paid paternity leave. Same as associates and non-equity partners. The firm offers 14 weeks of paid adoption leave.
Gardere Wynne Sewell Paid leave for 90 days. No loss of benefits during the 90-day period. Three months of leave, which for compensation purposes are treated as if billed and collected at the same level of billings and collections as the attorney averaged during the 12-month period prior to the leave. Paid leave for 90 days. No loss of benefits during the 90 day period.
Haynes and Boone Maternity for associates: After one year of service the individual will receive 100 percent salary for a period of disability of up to 12 weeks. An individual may take four additional weeks of unpaid maternity leave upon their termination of maternity leave. Paternity for associates: After one year of service the individual will receive 100 percent salary for a period of leave of up to four weeks commencing on the date of the birth of the child. An individual may take 12 additional weeks of unpaid paternity leave. Same as nonpartner attorneys but with no requirement of one year of service. An individual will receive 100 percent salary for a period of leave of up to four weeks commencing on the date the child is placed into the custody of the individual. An individual may take 12 additional weeks of unpaid adoption leave. Associates qualify for this benefit after one year of service.
Hunton & Williams* Firm associates and counsel who are primary caregivers receive up to 18 weeks of paid leave in conjunction with the birth or adoption of a child. Nonprimary caregivers receive up to two weeks of paid leave. Paid leave is 100 percent of salary. The firm has a one-tier partnership system, so there are no separate non-equity partner benefits. Firm partners have total flexibility when it comes to maternity/paternity leave. The firm's policy for adoption leave is the same as its maternity/paternity leave policy.
Jackson Walker The firm provides up to 12 weeks of paid maternity leave during any 12-month rolling period for an attorney who is expecting to give birth to a child or has recently given birth to a child. Maternity leave will be designated as, and considered as, leave available under the FMLA and must be taken during the first 12 months after the childbirth. Attorneys employed by the firm on a full-time basis, including those on an approved reduced-hours program under the firm' s alternative work schedule policy, will be eligible for maternity leave regardless of their length of tenure with the firm or the number of hours worked. No waiting period or minimum number of billable hours will be required. Maternity leave is inclusive of all firm-observed holidays and begins on the day immediately following the attorney's last day worked, not from the child's delivery date. In the event of medical complications resulting in an extended period of disability, an attorney on maternity leave may apply for short-term disability benefits in accordance with the firm' s disability policy. Attorneys utilizing maternity leave will be permitted to return to work at the end of their leave period and will be treated the same for purposes of compensation, benefits and partnership track advancement as attorneys disabled due to causes other than childbirth. A male attorney who is the parent and primary caregiver of a newly-born child may also be eligible for six weeks of paid parental leave. Same as policy for associates and non-equity partners. The firm provides up to six weeks of paid parental leave during any 12-month rolling period to an attorney who is the parent and primary caregiver of a recently-adopted child or a recently-placed foster child. A male attorney who is the parent and primary caregiver of a newly-born child may also be eligible for six weeks of paid parental leave. Parental leave will be designated as, and considered as, leave available under the FMLA and must be taken during the first 12 months after the child has been born, adopted or placed in foster care. Attorneys employed by the firm on a full-time basis, including those on an approved reduced-hours program under the firm's alternative work schedule policy, will be eligible for parental leave regardless of their length of tenure with the firm or the number of hours worked. No waiting period or minimum number of billable hours will be required. Parental leave is inclusive of all firm-observed holidays and begins on the day immediately following the attorney's last day worked, not from the child's delivery date, adoption date or foster care placement date. Attorneys utilizing parental leave will be permitted to return to work at the end of their leave period and will be treated the same for purposes of compensation, benefits and partnership track advancement as attorneys disabled due to causes other than childbirth.
Jones Day* In the event of major, temporary illnesses or medical conditions, including pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, the firm offers associates short-term disability benefits in the form of full salary and benefits up to the first 13 weeks of continuous disability, and 75 percent of salary and benefits for up to 13 more weeks of continuous disability. Pregnancy normally results in eight weeks of short-term disability. In addition, in the case of a newborn or newly adopted child, the firm provides up to four weeks of paid family leave, with fringe benefits. Comparable short-term disability and family leave is provided to partners. Short-term disability and family leave, comparable to that offered to associates, is provided to partners. The firm provides up to four weeks of paid family leave with fringe benefits for care of a newly adopted child.
K&L Gates* The firm offers associates and partners up to 18 weeks of paid leave. Those who would be eligible for short-term disability receive 100 percent of their salary for 18 weeks. Those not eligible to take short-term disability receive 100 percent of their salary for six weeks. Partners are eligible to take up to 18 weeks of paid leave. Adoptions are included in the firm's parental leave policy.
Kelly Hart & Hallman Twelve weeks of paid salary. All regular benefits, including insurance, continue uninterrupted. The maternity/paternity policy is the same for associates and partners. The adoption policy is the same as the policy for natural childbirth.
       
Locke Lord A salaried attorney who is the primary caregiver for his or her child is eligible for up to six weeks of paid leave for the birth or adoption of his or her child, in addition to any applicable paid leave for illness and disability. The combination of paid family leave and paid disability leave taken after the birth or adoption of the child may not exceed a total of 12 weeks. Leave is paid at 100 percent salary. A partner who is the primary caregiver for his or her child is eligible for up to six weeks of leave for the birth or adoption of his or her child, in addition to any applicable leave for illness and disability. The combination of family leave and disability leave taken after the birth or adoption of the child may not exceed a total of 12 weeks. Adoptions are included in the firm's maternity/paternity policy.
Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr Associates, in addition to FMLA, receive 12 weeks of paid maternity leave at 100 percent of salary. FMLA is offered for paternity leave. Non-equity partners receive short-term disability for maternity at 100 percent of salary in addition to FMLA. FLMA is offered for paternity leave. Equity partners receive short-term disability maternity leave at 100 percent of calculated tier compensation in adddition to FMLA. FMLA is offered for paternity leave. FMLA is offered for adoptions.
       
Strasburger & Price No separate policy from FMLA. No separate policy from FMLA. Same as leave policy for childbirth under FMLA.
Thompson & Knight Women receive up to 12 weeks of paid leave at 100 percent but have the option to take an additional 12 weeks unpaid. Women also may choose to return on a reduced schedule up to 50 percent for up to eight weeks. Our equity female partners receive the same paid parental leave at 100 percent for up to 12 weeks and may take additional unpaid time and/or choose to return on a reduced schedule. The firm does not distinguish between leaves for biological and adopted children. Thus, women receive up to 12 weeks of paid leave at 100 percent but have the option to take an additional 12 weeks unpaid. Women may also choose to return on a reduced schedule up to 50 percent for up to eight weeks.
Vinson & Elkins V&E's maternity/paternity policy is inclusive for both mothers and fathers, and for all lawyers, from entry-level associates through partners. Starting with the date of hire, all of our lawyers receive a minimum of 12 weeks of fully paid leave, and an additional elective 12 weeks of unpaid leave following the birth or adoption of a child. In addition, after the paid and unpaid time periods noted above, we encourage a transitional phase-in back to work for a three-month period during which the lawyer may elect to work reduced hours for 60 percent of their salary with the following schedule: first month following leave at 50 percent of full time; second month following leave at 60 percent of full time; third month following leave at 70 percent of full time. At the end of the phase-in program, the lawyers may propose a flexible work arrangement or may return to work full time. The time beyond the initial 12-week fully-paid period may be taken without any approvals from firm leadership and with no loss of seniority. Accrued vacation time may be utilized to extend the paid leave. We also have a maternity mentoring program to help guide new mothers through this life-changing time period. The goal of the program is to provide our lawyers with a supportive resource base upon which to draw so they can successfully and confidently make the transition from working to maternity leave and back again. The program pairs an expecting lawyer with a mentor, a woman lawyer who has had a child during her time at the firm. V&E's policy is the same for all lawyers. The firm's maternity/paternity policy includes natural births and adoptions.
Weil, Gotshal & Manges* Female associates are eligible for up to 18 weeks of paid leave for the birth of a child for primary caregivers. Male associates are eligible for up to 10 weeks of paid leave for primary caregivers. Same policy as associates. Associates are eligible for up to 10 weeks of paid leave for primary caregivers.
Winstead Maternity (which is the same as a medical leave): three months paid at 100 percent of salary with the option of taking three months unpaid. Maternity (which is the same as a medical leave): three months paid at 100 percent with the option of taking three months unpaid. There is no paternity leave policy. There is no official adoption leave policy, but adoptive parents can take up to three months of unpaid leave.
* Firm is not based in Texas.
Source: the firms.
Texas Lawyer, October 2012

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