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Discussion Starter #1
I'm recently out of law school, and recently admitted to the bar in my state, and I have a toddler (2 in July) and another baby on the way (in December). My situation also involves a move from the Twin Cities to a small Minnesota town, very rural. We just moved 3 weeks ago, and my contacts here are, well, non-existent.<br><br>
So...my dh works, and supports the family, but I really want to get my foot in the door as far as law is concerned, but (maybe this is my problem) I also want to be a SAHM to my children. I know with law there can be a lot of flexibility, but I think I'd be better off if I had the experience of already practicing for a few years. Instead, I'm very "green", and wanting it both ways.<br><br>
Do any of you have advice for me? How to get started? Is it possible this way? What would you do? especially with child #2 on the way? if I meet with some local attorneys, should I mention my situation, or is that a sure way to get the door shut in my face?<br><br>
hope some of you can give me some pointers! I can really use some guidance. thanks!
 

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Consider working at Legal Services. I know MN's is supposed to be excellent. You get lots of responsibility early on; they do hire right out of law school; and they are generally more family-friendly than other law offices. Good luck.<br><br>
In terms of disclosing, I was on the market while pregnant (not showing). It is not an enviable position. I wound up choosing to be upfront about it because I felt like I couldn't deal with the stress that would come from a situation where a new employer discovered my pregnancy and felt taken for a ride and therefore mistreated me (which would be illegal, but that doesn't make it any less miserable to endure). It definitely caused me to miss opportunities <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> but I felt like my peace of mind was worth more than any job. I disclosed in the interview. I would defend making another decision as well, but it had been a stressful pregnancy already, and I just felt very fragile already...
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/notes2.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="notes right-handed">:<br><br>
Will probably be there myself in a year or so...
 

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I have held two part-time positions, so that option is possible. They may be rare, but they do exist. Both my jobs were in goverment, but you may also be able to find work with a solo practioner who has too much work to handle herself, but who isn't in need of a full-time associate.<br><br>
Did you clerk during law school? I did some real estate closings and estate planning as a solo practioner before taking a job with the prosecutor's office, but I had done work in those areas while clerking during school. Even so, I found working as a solo practioner straight out of school to be VERY stressful (never had so many migraines or needed so many Tums).
 

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I know people who've done it, so it is probably partly a question of personality, but I can't imagine going out on my own as a sole practitioner right out of law school! Knowing case law from school is so far from knowing procedural ins and outs, billing, practice management, and so on. Learning from experienced, good quality mentors is important, in my book.<br><br>
Legal services or working for another lawyer sound like better options, if you can swing it.
 

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I am -- literally -- right there with you. I have a toddler (2 in November) and am also due at the end of december. I am about to graduate law school, and we may or may not be moving. I'd love to stay where we are, but we make lawyers here, the market is very small and there seems to be very little out there for my DH.<br><br>
I don't have a lot of suggestions -- right now, I'm looking at smaller public interest-y positions which might be willing to work with me on a work-from-home/flextime basis after my leave (I don't want to be a completely SAHM, but pumping is intensely problematic for me so WOHM full time isn't an option either). I'm also looking at part-time stuff, and contract research and writing gigs. I'm not finding a whole lot, but I have some experience in writing on legal topics for a lay audience and there's a bit more out there. I'm also looking into stuff like regulatory compliance or county government stuff -- GAL work and things like that.
 

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Well, before I got pg with my first, I started doing some contract work for a criminal defense firm. I liked being hourly/contract, because I could pretty much name my own hours, and take as much or as little work as I wanted. When I started, I mentioned to my boss that I was very interested in doing any research/writing that she needed done. She had someone on staff full time for that purpose at the time, but a year or so later, when that person did not work out, she did turn to me. I was pg by this time, so the timing was perfect. After dd was born, I was then able to parlay this into a part time work from home position for this employer, and subseqently started writing for other attorneys as well, as word of mouth got out there.<br><br>
So, I am living proof that all it takes is one good, well-placed contact. I would definitely advocate looking around for a family-friendly firm where you can do hourly contract work. I stress the "hourly contract" part because it makes it so much easier to name the hours/days you are willing to work, within reason of course, but the employer never feels he/she is paying for work that isn't being done, kwim?
 

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I'm not a mom, and I don't play one on tv, but I am a lawyer in solo practice.<br>
There are some great resources out there if you are thinking of going solo, these blogs are by women attorneys who are also moms.<br><br><a href="http://lawmummy.com/" target="_blank">http://lawmummy.com/</a><br><a href="http://inspiredsolo.wordpress.com/" target="_blank">http://inspiredsolo.wordpress.com/</a><br><a href="http://www.myshingle.com/" target="_blank">http://www.myshingle.com/</a><br><a href="http://lawyermama.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">http://lawyermama.blogspot.com/</a>
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you SO much for all your replies. I feel I have some kind of direction now!
 

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I agree with the suggestions re: contract work - could give you some flexibility while getting your foot in the door.<br><br>
I don't know if this is an option where you live but here in Mass. there is the opportunity to do court appointed work. You get paid hourly (by the state) to represent families in social services proceedings, criminal defendants with appeals, those being committed to mental hospitals etc. It's an opportunity to have your own caseload and you can take on as much or as little as you want. I have friends who do it in the suburban courts - it sounds like it's all moms and the court only holds morning sessions.<br><br>
Good luck!
 

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Checking out public interest, solo practitioners, and government positions are great ideas. Even though it might not be the most glamorous work, you might also consider contacting a larger firm in the closest urban area to see if they hire document analysts to review documents. More and more big firms are hiring document analysts, the pay is usually good, and the hours are usually flexible. You should even be able to do it from home via a remote hookup. It might be a way to get your feet wet in the law, while building contacts at the firm (and future references) and while staying at home.<br><br>
Good luck!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>littlerose</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8013556"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Checking out public interest, solo practitioners, and government positions are great ideas. Even though it might not be the most glamorous work, you might also consider contacting a larger firm in the closest urban area to see if they hire document analysts to review documents. More and more big firms are hiring document analysts, the pay is usually good, and the hours are usually flexible. You should even be able to do it from home via a remote hookup. It might be a way to get your feet wet in the law, while building contacts at the firm (and future references) and while staying at home.<br><br>
Good luck!</div>
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I looked into this and I disagree that the pay is good. $25 an hour UNLESS you work OT, when you get time and a half. It doesn't sound like the OP wants to work more than 40 hours a week. Also, from what I have heard, the hours are not flexible -- you have to punch a clock <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">: and they restrict phone calls, etc.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Belleweather</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8006922"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">smaller public interest-y positions which might be willing to work with me on a work-from-home/flextime basis after my leave</div>
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I have been inside MANY "impact litigation" places, and to my great disappointment they are generally NOT family-friendly. I would recommend policy work over litigation, and direct representation of individuals over class actions. also beware that many of the "big names" have national practices requiring travel. I hate to poop on this; it has been my world for almost a decade, but I need to be honest about the drawbacks of some of them.
 

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I'm not a lawyer, I'm a physician, but I think the two are very parallel. I am going to be finishing my training in a couple of years and am going to start interviewing for jobs any day now.<br><br>
I really struggle with this, because I have realized a lot of things that are very important to me are probably not going to be commonplace in most practices (like being breastfeeding-friendly in my office). But it is important to me to be able to do them.<br><br>
This also includes time to be a mom. When I had to go back to work after 6 weeks with this one, I swore I would not let that happen again. Then, I wondered if I should bring it up in job interviews, especially since I don't even know if I will have another child. I ultimately decided that absolutely I should make this part of my contract. Why would I want to work somewhere that wouldn't understand my need to take more time off with my baby?<br><br>
I realize that these requirements may end up making it impossible for me to find a group willing to take me or that I am willing to join, which would mean I would have to start my own practice. And it will certainly narrow my options of where to practice. But, I've decided that if that is the case, so be it. I'd rather be happy on my own than unhappy in a group.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>PiePie</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8017581"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I have been inside MANY "impact litigation" places, and to my great disappointment they are generally NOT family-friendly. I would recommend policy work over litigation, and direct representation of individuals over class actions. also beware that many of the "big names" have national practices requiring travel. I hate to poop on this; it has been my world for almost a decade, but I need to be honest about the drawbacks of some of them.</div>
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The kind of public interest that I'm talking about (note the focus on SMALL) isn't "impact litigation", it's really more focused on public service. The two firms that I'm in late-stage interviews with both have the ability to litigate but have limited resources and focus on serving larger numbers of people by using legal clout to find non-legal solutions -- their practices focus more on arbitration hearings, due process stuff and writing nasty letters.<br><br>
I wouldn't expect any National firm to be family friendly (like I said, SMALL!), but when we're talking about a 3-4 attorney advocacy-focused local firm with offices above the local sub shop, that's pretty different. I figure if the secretary can bring her dog to the office for 2 months, I there's a good chance they'd be open to my occasionally bringing a tiny baby in a sling, you know?
 

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As far as contacts go, does your school have an alumni network? Did you do intership? If you did, contacting some co-workers for leads in your new town might be helpful.<br><br>
The thing about part time work is ASK. I had a friend in law school who had a baby right before graduation and she was able to get a great part time offer at a state agency because she (with her amazing credentials and class rank) had the backbone to just ask. The thing is, she had made up her mind that she would not take a position over so many hours a week.<br><br>
Apply for jobs that interest you and be upfront. I am in a small town, and I can tell you that memories are long here. Dont burn any bridges; its better to be upfront about what you want than to get in, get trained and back out. Especially since it may take you awhile to find a job in a small town, dont count on not showing that youre pregnant during interviews.<br><br>
Also, commute time makes a HUGE difference. I went from a 45 minute commute (each way) to a 3 minute one and although I work the same number of hours life is so much better!<br><br>
Good luck and welcome to the club! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">:
 

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I don't practice law any more, although my license is still active. And my work as an attorney was with a big litigation firm, which is about as unchild-friendly as you can get. But I have plenty of friends who still work as lawyers, and some of them are mothers. The ones who work part-time are assistant attorneys general, a public interest attorney, contract attorneys, or work in a non-attorney capacity (legal editor, paralegal, etc.). The contract attorneys have periods of time crunch when they have to turn a project around quickly, but aside from that all are pretty satisfied with the balance in their lives.<br><br>
Good luck to you! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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I wish you all the best with whatever choice you make. I work for a small boutique firm in NYC, and the firm has been amazingly good to me regarding my schedule, etc. I found out that I was pregnant shortly after accepting the position. I am still required to bill a certain amount of hours - but I've come up with creative ways to get work done at home if need be, and the firm doesn't care - so long as I'm billing. I would be up front with any potential employer. Aside from the big firms, most small firms are comprised of people who have had to find balance themselves. If an employer is interested in you as a person and also in the quality of your work, they are apt to be much more flexible if they want to retain you for a while. It is hard, but it can be done! Good luck!
 
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