Paragon Legal, A New Model (A)

By Shelley Correll, Debra Schifrin, Sarah Soule
2012 | Case No. OB81A
The case is about the San Francisco-based law firm, Paragon Legal, founded by lawyer and entrepreneur Mae O’Malley. Paragon Legal gave high-level attorneys the opportunity to have a flexible schedule and work 10 to 40 hours a week. This was in the context of an industry that typically required very long hours and had inflexible schedules and serious penalties for stepping out of the field for any length of time. Eighty-five percent of Paragon Legal attorneys were women with children, but the firm also attracted women and men without children who wanted to find a work/life balance. Paragon Legal lawyers were contract workers and received competitive compensation. In addition to discussing Paragon Legal, the case details the landscape of the legal industry, including challenges and pressures on all attorneys and the additional challenges for women. By the summer of 2010, Paragon Legal had become successful in the San Francisco Bay Area, and the question posed in the (A) case is whether the company should scale within the region and/or geographically. And if so, what would that look like? Other topics of discussion in the case include: the nature of contract work, entrepreneurship (and female entrepreneurship), and redesigning work for a better work/life balance. This case is available for purchase from ECCH.
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