Monday, December 8, 2014

5 Tips For Pregnant Lawyers

I'm a mommy lawyer. And I worked while pregnant. I've got two kids under the age of 8 and I currently work in house at a company with over $1 billion in revenue. 

I wrote and passed the California bar exam when I was 8 months pregnant. I also worked at a large law firm, and then subsequently at a major legal publisher while I was in my second pregnancy. 

Pregnancy is hard. I'm not trying to rub salt in the wounds of those women who are pregnant and working as lawyers. I did it, but it was brutal. (Read my lament here.)

But having done it, Here are my 5 tips to being pregnant while working.

1. Disclose your pregnancy. Many women are scared to tell their employer that they are pregnant. I actually told a law firm in the interview and they still hired me, so the stigma isn't as bad as many believe it is. While it's not wise to tell your boss before the sixth month, pregnancy can mess with your brain, so you might want your workplace to be more understanding of any minor errors that you do, as a result of brain-fog.  The other added benefit of telling your boss is that the law protects you from adverse employment actions (i.e. getting fired or demoted) if you are pregnant. 

2. Use disability benefits for pregnancy. There are many benefits afforded to people who are pregnant. I was able to take the bar exam in a private hotel room with food, a private bathroom, and a pillow in my lap. If your pregnancy is particularly bad, you should even consider taking a paid leave. In many states, your job is protected. 

3. Work from home. Many transactional law jobs will allow you to work from home. If you're doing predominately research or redlining contracts, you can get away with working from home. I was working at a large international publishing house for the latter half of my pregnancy and they let me work from home four days a week. 

4. Get your sleep. After you come home from work, make sure you sleep well. I used to go to bed at 7 P.M. If you have other kids, this might be challenging but if you have a supportive spouse, you need to call on that support now. 

5. Eat well. If you're throwing up every meal, it might be hard to eat well when you are pregnant. But you need the energy and the nutrition. Keep some healthy snacks with you, such as fruit and yogurt. 

Many women work in law firms while pregnant. From time to time, you will run into difficult employers or people who don't understand. And yes, you might get labeled as the "mommy" (I actually won a gag award from a well-intentioned female boss called the "'Heck yeah I can make my numbers even with a crying baby' Award".)  

But in the big picture, you'll come out on top. 


Lynn Chase said...

I never thought about working from home. My sister is an attorney who is expecting her first child in a couple weeks. She wants to keep working while she is on child leave. I'm not sure if she knows about the possibility of working from home. I'll have to let her know and see if this fits her situation!

Michael Miller said...

If you can get through a pregnant lawyers with respect and dignity, God bless you.