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Aspiring/Active/Retiring/Recovering LAWYER MOMS! - Page 7

post #121 of 369
Quote:
Originally Posted by gethane View Post
This is very reassuring. I know I can handle a 40 or 50 hour law school "work week" but I was very apprehensive about some of the stories I'd read about 12 hours/day studying.
Some people do go nuts. I don't think they do markedly better - often the opposite, because if they're overly detail oriented they just miss the forest for the trees in extracting principles for things.

The other aspect of the stories you've heard is just macho cr*p, honestly. You get a lot of posturing, both in law school and in the practice of law, about just how hard everyone works. Makes them feel self-important. Better to just get on with it and never mind if your light was on longer than the one next door, IMO.
post #122 of 369
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahz5 View Post

My school also has a loan repayment program - if I do *anything* full-time that earns less than about $50k a year, they pay off my loans for me that year, and it's pro rated at salaries about that. .
So, you went to Yale? :
post #123 of 369
Yep. Don't think I would have survived it anywhere else...
post #124 of 369
i agree with the PP who talked about how the time business is a heck of a lot of posturing. it's also a lot of hot air and creating a climate of fear and anxiety--in which people don't get anything done.

i found that studying on my own, not listening to other people bemoaning their state (because you do start to believe the 'press' if you do), and simply being my own person who happened to be going to law school--everything got done in a very timely manner, in a high quality manner, and i wasn't stressed at all.
post #125 of 369
Just wanted to check in. I'm a relatively new lawyer - took the Bar in July 05. I am currently working from home. I have an of-counsel relationship with a small firm. I do a lot of research and writing, It's a great gig. As my kids get older, I'll expand, but for now, I'm happy.
post #126 of 369
Welcome! I'm always intrigued by people who've managed to carve out something neat like that. How did you swing it?
post #127 of 369
Hi Everyone! I didn't get a chance to read all of this thread, but I wanted to introduce myself. I graduated law school in 2003 and have been a full time Assistant Public Defender ever since.

My husband works part time and is a part time SAHD. I don't make very much money as a public defender but I seldom have to work more than forty hours a week and get to spend some of my 40 hours on MDC (like now). I feel like this is absolutely what I was meant to do with my life, but that doesn't mean that sometimes I wish I was able to work part time and spend more time with my 15 month old.
post #128 of 369
Reading over the thread (can't believe I just tripped over it) it looks like most of you are more recent graduates. But I was wondering if anyone has left practice for years and then managed to find a job again practicing law.

I was graduated in 1988 (completely kicked ass in law school, law review editor, blah, blah), went to work at a big firm (litigation) even though I really wanted to be a public defender (the PD had a hiring freeze my year) for four absolutely miserable years, took a 50% salary cut to run a legal center for battered women for two years, then started my own practice doing gender and HIV discrimination. About a year into my own practice I had DS #1 and went part-time. Definitely a struggle to keep the practice going financially and scheduling court appearances around my son's nursing (he would not take ebm). Practice got smaller and smaller until I got pregnant with DS #2 in 1996 when I shut the practice down. Started working pretty informally as a freelance writer, did some pro bono legal consulting work, and after DS #3 was born in 2000 took a litigation case here and there. I have kept my license throughout (which in my state requires lots of continuing ed) and do a crapload of non-litigation pro bono but I have feared I have rendered myself unemployable. DH's income is luckily enough to cover us and I homeschool all three boys so full-time WOH is not an option for a while. A couple of years ago however DH and I separated for a while and I went looking for work. Indeed, I was unemployable. I was told to my face that no firm would hire someone who had not WOH full-time for more than a year or so. Even offering to start as a first year was laughed at.

I am doing all right as a freelance writer but I really liked litigation. It really upsets me that by going to law school before rather than after having my kids, I may have blown my chance to practice law again.

Any helpful experiences out there? Anyone walk away and then walk back when kids were grown?

On the debt thing, I was about $35,000 in debt when I graduated and twenty years later I still have a year of payments left.
post #129 of 369
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamajake View Post
Reading over the thread (can't believe I just tripped over it) it looks like most of you are more recent graduates. But I was wondering if anyone has left practice for years and then managed to find a job again practicing law.

I was graduated in 1988 (completely kicked ass in law school, law review editor, blah, blah), went to work at a big firm (litigation) even though I really wanted to be a public defender (the PD had a hiring freeze my year) for four absolutely miserable years, took a 50% salary cut to run a legal center for battered women for two years, then started my own practice doing gender and HIV discrimination. About a year into my own practice I had DS #1 and went part-time. Definitely a struggle to keep the practice going financially and scheduling court appearances around my son's nursing (he would not take ebm). Practice got smaller and smaller until I got pregnant with DS #2 in 1996 when I shut the practice down. Started working pretty informally as a freelance writer, did some pro bono legal consulting work, and after DS #3 was born in 2000 took a litigation case here and there. I have kept my license throughout (which in my state requires lots of continuing ed) and do a crapload of non-litigation pro bono but I have feared I have rendered myself unemployable. DH's income is luckily enough to cover us and I homeschool all three boys so full-time WOH is not an option for a while. A couple of years ago however DH and I separated for a while and I went looking for work. Indeed, I was unemployable. I was told to my face that no firm would hire someone who had not WOH full-time for more than a year or so. Even offering to start as a first year was laughed at.

I am doing all right as a freelance writer but I really liked litigation. It really upsets me that by going to law school before rather than after having my kids, I may have blown my chance to practice law again.

Any helpful experiences out there? Anyone walk away and then walk back when kids were grown?

On the debt thing, I was about $35,000 in debt when I graduated and twenty years later I still have a year of payments left.
Seriously??? Even with all your pro bono experience, continuing ed and all?? Not to mention your incredibly interesting and impressive history? Out of curiosity, who told you that? Not the name, obviously, but I notice you used the passive voice ("I was told"), so I can't tell if the actual hiring folks told you this at every turn, or one lousy but persuasive bum did, or what.

I'm not in your position as I'm still relatively junior. I know it can be hard to get back into the game, especially in litigation. On the other hand, a woman I know at my firm stayed home with her kids for 7 or 8 years, then got hired here as an associate and made partner within a few years. In litigation...

I'm sure that you'd get more fulsome advice from someone who's BTDT, but (especially given that you're looking for litigation work), I'd simply respond to that by saying straight out that they're absolutely wrong, and ARGUE with them until they realize they don't have a leg to stand on.
post #130 of 369
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammastar2 View Post
Seriously??? Even with all your pro bono experience, continuing ed and all?? Not to mention your incredibly interesting and impressive history? Out of curiosity, who told you that? Not the name, obviously, but I notice you used the passive voice ("I was told"), so I can't tell if the actual hiring folks told you this at every turn, or one lousy but persuasive bum did, or what.

I'm not in your position as I'm still relatively junior. I know it can be hard to get back into the game, especially in litigation. On the other hand, a woman I know at my firm stayed home with her kids for 7 or 8 years, then got hired here as an associate and made partner within a few years. In litigation...

I'm sure that you'd get more fulsome advice from someone who's BTDT, but (especially given that you're looking for litigation work), I'd simply respond to that by saying straight out that they're absolutely wrong, and ARGUE with them until they realize they don't have a leg to stand on.
I was told very nicely by the leading local head hunter that he might be able to get me work doing document review for $15 an hour (which of course wouldn't cover child care). Two diffferent firm partners (one big, one medium sized - both of whom knew me since law school) told me there was no place for me. The big firm guy told me his partners "couldn't envision a place for me" and the medium size guy actually used the word "unemployable." When I asked the medium sized firm guy about starting as a first year associate, he said, "Why would the firm hire you when we could hire someone out of law school and train them our way?" It was, needless to say, demoralizing.

I would be really curious about the experience of the person at your firm who came back after 7 years home with kids. Anything you can share about how she did that would be really helpful. I honestly don't know if I would want to go back to commercial litigation - maybe it is just my ego wanting to have the option - since after all I did walk away from it to do public interest work long before kids. I have been thinking about maybe getting an LLM and trying to teach. Any law professors on here?

Thanks.
post #131 of 369
I'll see what I can find out: that just sounds whacked!

Commercial lit is one of the more macho fields, which may have something to do with it. In my jurisdiction, 14% of commercial litigators are women, so things that happened in other fields 10 years ago are just happening in this one now.
post #132 of 369
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamajake View Post
When I asked the medium sized firm guy about starting as a first year associate, he said, "Why would the firm hire you when we could hire someone out of law school and train them our way?"
Thanks.
Because you have a particular skill set, expertise and maturity that they aren't going to get with a first year associate. Jeez!

Edited to add: oh, and the above will help them make money.
post #133 of 369
Interesting piece on a program at Pace to assist women returning to law:

http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1173363833157

You may also want to do a search for women and "on ramp" to see if you can find some tips.
post #134 of 369
To those who do contract/freelance work... could you please talk about how you went about getting yourself work and, if you don't mind sharing, how much you make and how much you work? I would really like to do this after I have kids... I would particularly like to do research and writing, but I would be willing to do deps, court appearances, and the like as well.

Mamajake... if you want, PM me - I work for a Philly firm. I'd love to hear more details about whom you talked to. I also know a woman who came back to my firm after some years at home, some years at an small employment firm.

I know there is a very women-friendly firm somewhere in Pennsy - I can find out more information.

Have you looked into flextimelawyers? I know you aren't looking specifically for flex-time, but it's basically a group that works to forward women's issues in firms. The woman who runs it may be able to give you some information.
post #135 of 369

Advice!

I am at my wit's end. I don't want to say much on a public forum, but I feel like I may be experiencing mild pregnancy discrimination. At any rate, I am a sixth-year fed up with my firm, but I can't do anything about it because (a) I have an overly big 17 week preggo belly and (b) I am terrified about the idea of applying for jobs and starting all over at a new firm and (c) I don't even want to practice anyway, so my heart would not be in it. But I'm the breadwinner, and I feel completely trapped. I don't even feel like I could transition to a different field because I feel like the only thing I'm qualified to do is practice law, and because I make so much more as an attorney that I would as anything else.

Help! Who has moved to another firm, or moved to a different field, successfully? Please reassure me!
post #136 of 369
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahz5 View Post
I am at my wit's end. I don't want to say much on a public forum, but I feel like I may be experiencing mild pregnancy discrimination. At any rate, I am a sixth-year fed up with my firm, but I can't do anything about it because (a) I have an overly big 17 week preggo belly and (b) I am terrified about the idea of applying for jobs and starting all over at a new firm and (c) I don't even want to practice anyway, so my heart would not be in it. But I'm the breadwinner, and I feel completely trapped. I don't even feel like I could transition to a different field because I feel like the only thing I'm qualified to do is practice law, and because I make so much more as an attorney that I would as anything else.

Help! Who has moved to another firm, or moved to a different field, successfully? Please reassure me!
I have been there and understand how you feel. I am also the breadwinner and I am a 6th year (rising to 7th year in a few months). So I completely understand all the issues (add in there debt issues as well).

Some thoughts -- have you experienced issues with being a mother or a woman at your firm before? Is this the first time? (you don't have to answer this) Are you experiencing it from more than one supervisor? Will the mild discrimination have long reaching career effects or is it merely bothersome? Are there good things about your firm versuses other firms? Can you hang on until after your maternity leave and then interview? I know in the end when I have done this sort of balancing, the decision to stay where I am at is always solidified. But I am also at a very good place (generally) that has been supportive of my 2 kids that I had while here and my brief part time stints and my flexible (somewhat) hours.

I do know that it is hard for 6th years and up to leave, we are just not as marketable unless we have clients or a set of skills that is specifically advertised for. I do not know which market you are in (in terms of city) (ETA -- I see you are in Philly which is a good sized legal market) which does affect your ability to leave. I would say, sit down -- think about whether this is the first time. Are there other issues at your firm as well? Is it more than one partner? What is the long term effects of the current discrimination? Can you stay until you are in a better position to move?

Being pregnant and a lawyer is so hard. Being a new mom and a lawyer is also hard. Make sure that you think things through and you are acting with a full handle on everything and all the facts.

If you need to leave -- I would recommend waiting until you are not pregnant to interview. The problem isn't about getting the job -- but what kind of maternity leave would you get? Second, if you don't like to practice -- have you considered in house jobs? www.lawcrossing.com is a paid service, but it advertises jobs for people with legal degrees.

If you want to pm me -- feel free. Take care.
post #137 of 369
Aspiring here. LSAT is Saturday, wish me luck. I've been studying for about 10 weeks.
post #138 of 369
Quote:
Originally Posted by gethane View Post
Aspiring here. LSAT is Saturday, wish me luck. I've been studying for about 10 weeks.

By the time, it looks like you must have just finished the LSAT in the past few hours. I hope it went well.
post #139 of 369
Thanks! I feel like it went as well as I could've expected. I totally underestimated how stressed out I would be at the beginning from being the oldest person there.

Now the three week wait for my score *nailbite*
post #140 of 369
Aww, that should have given you confidence! I bet you took it more seriously than anyone else in the room. (I say that as a former test prep teacher. The older students are always the best. Hang in there - I remember how agonizing those waits can be!
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