I gave birth to my fourth child on March 9 2019 and when he was barely a month old I did something I wouldn’t have done with any of the babies before: I travelled downtown to attend the Women’s Law Forum’s CLE entitled “Rethinking having it All, a Solo and Small Firm Perspective on Parenting While Lawyering”. I did it because I felt I needed to be a part of the very important conversation that is parental leave in our profession.
I was surprised at how many young women associates from mid-size or larger firms attended the program, which was really for sole practitioners, seeking any crumb of information they could garner about being a parent while still having a fulfilling career. What that signaled to me is that in the decade between my first child and my fourth, things really hadn’t changed at all for private practice lawyers looking to start a family. I realized that these associates, who had yet to start out on their parenting journeys, really had little support from their partners and managers in this area, so, given that I have gone on maternity leave four times in three different work environments, I feel I can lend some perspective.