I just finished law school in May and am studying for the bar. I have a seven month old son, and because I wanted to spend quality time with him I was scheduled to do a federal circuit clerkship next year instead of starting at a big firm. Well, surprise surprise and I'm due in January! Because I was going to be my judge's only clerk, and a maternity leave would be espeically hard on him, I felt that I had to resign, which I did, and I am now scheduled to start at a big firm in September.
I'm in the fortunate position of having no law school debt to speak of, because I had a full-tuition scholarship and for my first two years of law school (until I got married
I was living with an old lady as a companion and so had minimal living expenses. However, I have a baby and another on the way, we live in one of the highest COL parts of the country, and DH is out of work, so I don't really have a choice about working. I suppose I could have gone to a smaller firm, but I want to practice tax law which is much more interesting at the bigger firms. I also want the option of becoming a SAHM when DS is school-age so I can homeschool (DH and I agree that though I have the vastly greater income potential, I'd also be a more effective SAHP). I'm not sure that once I start working I won't change my mind and make a career out of it, but for now leaving DS is going to be very, very difficult for me.
I went to law school for fun -- my father convinced me to apply, and I got a full scholarship, so why not? I knew I'd enjoy the classes and figured that being debt-free I wouldn't be tied to it when I came out. Now I do feel tied in a way, but I'm kind of looking forward to working. I'm conflicted.
I can't really answer the others because I have to see. I am quite nervous about this job, as I will have to take off copious amounts of time my first month for Jewish holidays and taking maternity leave six months in won't exactly endear me to my colleagues either. (They do know I'm pregnant -- I told them that when I asked if I could move up my start date from 2008 to 2007.) I'm also still pumping for my first baby. The tax department really wanted me to start this fall, and was disappointed when I decided to take the clerkship, but by the time I knew I wanted to start at the firm this fall (when I found out I was pregnant, in May), they had already hired all the first year tax associates they wanted. When I first negotiated with the firm expecting to start in 2008, we talked about my working from home on Fridays, especially in the winter when I would have to leave the office insanely early to get home before sundown. We also talked about my leaving the office at 5:30 and working from home in the evening. Now I don't know how comfortable I'll be being assertive about those things.
Advice any of you seasoned big firm lawyers out there?