In my personal life, my mother was my inspiration to pursue a career in the law (she was my legal role model). Professionally, I have had the honor of getting to know many great “lawyer moms.” In honor of mother’s day, I’m happy to share three of the greatest lessons I’ve learned from lawyers who are also moms:
The depth of compassion from a lawyer who is a mother that is distinct from other lawyers. From speaking with many attorney-mothers, I often hear that they learn to see the world beyond the eyes of a professional woman—but now, through the eyes of a mother, who looks at the world as their child might inherit it. Suddenly, understanding clients needs can be deeper too as the lawyer starts to see what the client is trying to envision.
The demands of motherhood and optimism that mothers invest into their children’s potential often leads attorneys who are mothers to also push themselves and pour energy into nurturing their own potential. Having to introduce simple things like walking and new vocabulary words to an infant often reminds a person of how important it is to continue to push themselves to grow and to reach outside their comfort zones. Children learn by example, and attorney-mothers often are driven by a deep fire that is partly fueled by trying to serve as a strong example for their children.
There’s a difference between a lawyer who gets stuff done from a lawyer who’s every move has a clear purpose. Attorney-moms know the value of time—because if time is being taken away from them spending it with their child, it needs to be spent doing something worthwhile. They tend to get work done effectively and efficiently.
Recruiting has also given me insight into what law firms are doing to better serve their attorneys who are mothers. Rather than be stuck where you have to pick between two full time jobs (being a mom and an attorney), it is often better to lateral into a setting where motherhood and your profession is embraced as one.
Many of the employers I work with have been working hard to retain and incentivize parent lawyers (particularly mothers). The most popular way of doing this is through a flextime schedule, which promotes a culture of support and respect for its working parents.
Having a flexible schedule means that sometimes attorneys will have to work during nights and weekends. There are still sacrifices and trade-offs, but the ability to pursue it all is a progressive step forward.
If you are considering making a move so that you can pursue it all, consider setting up a conversation with one of our recruiters. There are also several great blogs out there:
For practical tips containing work advice for new lawyers and for mommy lawyers, written by a young attorney making her way through a ravaged economy: http://attorneydiaries.blogspot.com/
For coverage over a variety of legal issues relevant to mothers: http://mommyblawg.blogspot.com/
For information about balance, parenthood, and lawyer turned stay-at-home-mom: http://www.butidohavealawdegree.com/