(This story published originally on http://www.law.com on Jan. 13, 2017.)
Big Law couple Liz and Matthew Dubeck both made partner at their respective Los Angeles firms this year, thanks in part to wallabies, cheetahs, pandas and giraffes.
“I currently have a giraffe and a panda,” said Liz Dubeck, referring to her son Emmett, 5, and daughter Lillian, 3. Their animal identities came from their classes at Hope Street Friends, a day care co-sponsored by Dubeck’s firm, O’Melveny & Myers—which partnered with Munger, Tolles & Olson and an investment firm to start the day care.
“We don’t see how it would have worked without the flexibility of having the day care center there,” said Dubeck, whose practice focuses on finance and real estate development, and whose husband is a partner in Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. “It has made it possible to stay. From a practical standpoint, I really don’t know how I would continue working full-time without it.”
It’s common for law firms to provide emergency or back-up child care for lawyers who must work nights or weekends, or who need child care during school holidays or when kids are sick. But very few have taken the next step by opening full-time, onsite day care, despite their lamentations about the exodus of women from Big Law once they start families. Cost, it seems, is the primary reason the service hasn’t caught on.
Law firms that are providing onsite day care for the children of attorneys and staff say they see benefits in recruiting lawyers and keeping them at the firm.