Sunday, May 6, 2012

Shout Out to Mommy Lawyers This Mothers' Day

With Mothers' Day creeping up on us, I just had to put my thoughts down, especially after hearing about the riveting swearing in ceremony of a mommy lawyer in Maine.

Nancy Torresen from Maine was sworn in on Thursday as a U.S. District Court judge. In her thank you speech, she gave a shout out to her mother and to her mother in law for helping her with meals and other mommy duties as she sought success in her career.

It's not easy for a woman to rise the ranks in the legal profession. It's even harder for a female lawyer to crack the judiciary. As much as we like to believe that the playing field is equal, it's not. Sure, we've come a long way, but in many cases, women are still far behind when it comes to partnership positions and to salary parity at the large firms.

Part of that is because while many women do have helpful hubbies, many of the duties of parenthood rest squarely on the shoulders of the mom. Pregnancy is one of those non-delegable duties.

Being a lawyer and a mommy is hard work.

No mommy lawyer can do it without help.

Nancy Torresen is the first female in Maine to hold the position of federal district judge.

There were many prominent female jurists in attendance at her ceremony and she recognized their contribution to the legal profession, hailing many of them as her inspiration.

So, in this week before Mothers' Day, here's a shout-out to mommy lawyers everywhere-- in BigLaw, as in-house counsel at corporations and to those managing their own practices.

Hats off to you all. Here's to the mommy lawyers and the difficult choices that many of them have to make.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Pregnant and Working: A Female Lawyer's Lament

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to start a new law job while pregnant?

Yep, that's right. Pregnant.

I had a little chat with some other female lawyers over the weekend. And interestingly, a male lawyer earlier today.

It's so damn hard to work while pregnant, let alone start a new job while pregnant. I've been struggling with this for months now, as I'm officially in my final trimester. The last time I was pregnant, I actually had to quit because I kept throwing up at work. That was a long time ago.

This time around, I can't say that the pregnancy is any better (in fact, it may even be a bit worse) but I am struggling to keep up with my work. It's like the pregnancy hormones take over and my mind turns to mush. I make silly mistakes. I have typos. I submit duplicates of the same document. I can't remember the names of other associates or paralegals.

And every day, all I can think about all day is frivolous Facebook gossip, whether Joshua will win on American Idol or anything else frivolous that I can bring  to the forefront of my mind.

It's driving  me mad.

Of course, let's not forget the fact that I still throw up at work. Even six months into my pregnancy.

Related Read: 5 Tips for Pregnant Lawyers

Pregnancy sucks, but it sucks more when you're a lawyer and have to work in an industry that doesn't tolerate mistakes. 

Then, I had the chance to speak to a woman who started a new job at Google when she was five months pregnant. In addition to forever being labeled as "the pregnant girl," she claims that she had a very hard time taking on a new job when pregnant. She said she was lucky that they attributed it to "ramping up" at a new job, so mistakes were expected.

A male lawyer I talked to today told me that his wife was expecting and was currently six months pregnant. While she's not a lawyer, he's a partner at a firm and told me that  he has to come home every day and manage household responsibilities, since she's wiped.

Wiped out. Doesn't that sound familiar?

I come home and I can barely keep my head up. Two weeks ago, I asked that the TV be moved to the bedroom. Now, all I do is come home, change into my PJs and sit in front of the TV, soaking in whatever useless crap is on television.

The best advice I was given was to shut off any distractions (such as my Facebook iPhone app) and to get to bed early.

That's easier said than done, since I already have one kid who refuses to sleep before 10 p.m.

Oh well, another two months to go and I take leave.