A part-time lawyer

 

Dr. Susanne Wende, LL.M. |  Associated Partner | Litigation | Munich:

A part-time lawyer – is that possible? The only way to answer that question is probably to try it out.

With about half a year's professional experience before my first child was born, I returned to Noerr as a part-time lawyer after six months' parental leave. On my very first day back, I was involved in an exciting case, and this enabled me to dive straight back into the full detail of a lawyer's work (with only the amount of time limited). In the first few weeks, there were also a lot of organisational matters to sort out: the IT department arranged a laptop, so that I could also get onto the Noerr network from home. It was important to find the fastest way from the law firm to the nursery and to work out with the secretary a system that would, when necessary, enable communication with the client to take place in the afternoon (without it being absolutely essential for me to be reachable).

I can now say that it feels really good to concentrate fully on being a lawyer in the office and on visits to clients in the first part of the day, and then to be able to give my undivided attention to my child in the afternoon. But does it always go that smoothly? No, it doesn't. However, with a good framework and support from all sides, it does always work somehow: at Noerr it is perfectly clear that I can basically be there only at specific times. If, on occasions, I really do need or want to be flexible about time outside our son’s nursery hours, we can extend his time at the nursery at short notice. We are also developing a mutual-support network among parents. For this reason, it is good to get a two-seat bicycle trailer or a second child’s car seat as soon as your first child is born. We have also coped with the biggest fear of all working parents – a 39-degree temperature at 6.30 on a Monday morning – thanks to the combination of home office and an emergency babysitter through the pme-Familienservice, with which Noerr collaborates.