Reed Smith today announced that it has replaced its Family Support Initiative with the launch of the Family Network, a permanent and ongoing global program designed to provide support and resources to help firm employees balance work and personal responsibilities – relevant to the life stages of a family, either immediate or extended.

Related Professionals: Casey Ryan

The Family Network is the next iteration of the Family Support Initiative, which focused on identifying and consolidating all existing resources available to Reed Smith employees and their families. The Family Network builds on that work by introducing expanded benefits with the firm’s current providers as well as new offerings such as peer-to-peer networking, development opportunities, and an array of benefits based on caregiver needs.

Launched in August 2020 with the intention of helping the firm’s lawyers and professional staff address COVID-19-related family challenges, the Family Support Initiative was designed to provide working parents or those caring for family members with information about the firm’s policies and benefits. These included childcare, tutoring resources, leaves of absence, and flexible work scheduling options as well as a ramp up/ramp down opportunity before and after leave and a true-up benefit for those who elect to work a part-time schedule, but end up working more than their part-time schedule.

The Family Network expands the scope of the Family Support Initiative in several substantive ways. First, the Network will initially focus on eight core life stages: Family Planning, Baby (Age 0-1), Toddlers + Preschool (Age 1-5), School Age (Age 5-15), Teens + College Prep (Age 15-18), College + Empty Nesters (Age 18+), Retirement Planning, and Elder Care. As the Network matures and new stages of caregiving/groups of caregivers are identified, those will be built into the program.

Additionally, the firm has entered into a global partnership with Kunik, a leading corporate benefits provider that supports caregivers and parents throughout their journey. Kunik will provide firm employees with access to a global, members-only caregiver network, digital platform and resource library, and a series of live expert talks designed to provide guidance, advice, and support across the many challenges caregivers face. Kunik also will support Reed Smith personnel through a customized series of expert talks on a variety of topics addressing the challenge of juggling the demands of work and life.

“Kunik is thrilled to partner with Reed Smith to support its global caregiver community,” said Liz Gulliver, Co-founder of Kunik. “How we work and live has changed and will continue to evolve, and we are excited to work with a firm thinking progressively, inclusively and holistically about how to support all Reed Smith caregivers and families.”

Furthermore, the firm is expanding the services available to its people via Bright Horizons, the leading childcare provider. Reed Smith personnel will enjoy an increase in the number of back-up care days each employee receives, as well as an option to exchange back-up care days for online tutoring administered by Bright Horizon’s tutoring partners. The latter will broaden the benefits provided by Bright Horizons to include employees with older children.

Finally, and importantly, the Family Network is a collaboration among the firm’s offices in the United States and Europe, the Middle East and Asia. It is imperative that the programs designed to facilitate work/life balance are available for all of the firm’s employees, irrespective of where they are based globally.

“The events of the past 18 months have levied an unprecedented amount of stress on our people and in particular those who have to juggle the demands of their jobs with the commitments and obligations to their families. We wanted and needed to do more to support our people and their families,” said Casey Ryan, Reed Smith’s Global Head of Legal Personnel. “Through the Family Network, we are being intentional in our efforts to support our personnel throughout every stage of their lives by providing new resources, enhancing existing ones, and adjusting policies. We want to ensure that the firm’s efforts make a meaningful and positive impact on our people.”