Selina Mamo and Kate Julien are Chair and Vice-Chair, respectively, of the Ontario Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division Central. In August 2019, they each welcomed their first baby and began a 12-month maternity leave. Selina and Kate sat down for a fireside Zoom chat to compare experiences and discuss advice for other young lawyers considering taking parental leave.
Kate: Happy New Year! It feels like a lot of the same right now, even though we have rolled over from 2020 to 2021.
Selina: Happy New Year to you, too! 2020 has been a wild ride and I am looking forward to what 2021 has in store.
Kate: Let’s get right into the topic at hand: parental leave as a lawyer. I work in regulatory policy in the public sector, so I am not a practising lawyer right now. I am very lucky to have a family-friendly workplace that supported my transition out into parental leave. When I was on leave, I was truly disconnected. It was all baby and no work stuff. What was it like for you? Was there a firm disconnection from the office?
Selina: I had a slightly different experience during my leave, but that was by choice. I had an interest in staying connected to the firm, so I continued to check emails and participate in some work meetings. My firm was very supportive during my leave and set me up with a maternity leave “buddy.” She was a partner at the firm and we met—mostly by Zoom due to COVID—every couple of months to check in, see how I was doing, and discuss my transition back to the firm.