Baby-friendly T14 schools?

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lyman03
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Baby-friendly T14 schools?

Postby lyman03 » Mon Aug 16, 2010 8:48 pm

I am an older applicant and am planning to apply to the T14 and some lower T1 schools as well (not taking the LSAT until October, so I don't have a firm list of schools yet). My husband and I would prefer not to wait another 3 years because we are ready to have kids now (I'm in my early 30s). Many former and current law students have told me that law school is actually not a bad time to have kids, with the caveat that it is preferable to wait until 2L or 3L. For background, I should note--I plan to do public interest law and am not interested in biglaw at all. My husband has a good job with a decent income (so we will be able to afford decent day care) but it involves regular travel (1-2 nights away each week).

What I'm wondering is this: does anyone have experience specifically with T14 law schools and pregnancy/newborns? Obviously, these things cannot be timed exactly, but I'd like to have the baby during my 1L summer, which would mean being pregnant 1L year. Is that crazy at a T14 school? Also, can anyone speak to whether there are specific T14 schools that have good, cheap daycare options and are flexible/family-friendly? I have noticed some other posts about "family-friendly" law schools, but I'm not concerned here with things like school districts and neighborhood safety (seems to matter more for older kids) so much as daycare options and other things like the stresses of the workload while having a family--would I be the only pregnant woman (or woman with an infant) at all the T14 schools? Are there any particular differences among the schools?

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jks289
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Re: Baby-friendly T14 schools?

Postby jks289 » Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:07 pm

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Last edited by jks289 on Mon Oct 04, 2010 9:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Pip
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Re: Baby-friendly T14 schools?

Postby Pip » Tue Aug 17, 2010 10:51 am

I think a lot of this will depend on the school you are going to attend.

IF you were to get into Yale you could easily have a baby first year and not have any real problems (mostly because after the first semester you have the flexibility of scheduling classes as you like).... I also knew a classmate that began school as a single mom and then had another while in school.... I don't think it was easy for her but it wasn't so horrible that she thought of dropping out.... But that was at Yale where you really don't feel pressure on getting high grades.

On the other hand if you are in a more intense place like Harvard I would say you were crazy to think about getting pregnant during first year, even with Harvard's "kinder gentler" grading system, grades would be critical and with 10% in every class getting a LP you could bet they are still competing to climb over each other to avoid the bottom spots.

All that said, I have to ask why you are looking at T14 schools if you have a goal of doing public interest law. T14 schools really don't teach you anything you wouldn't learn in a 2nd or 3rd tier school. T14s make sense if you are trying for big firms or judicial clerkships. In a sense you would be paying Rolex prices when you only need a Timex...

I'm also not quite sure why you think you need to start a family in law school at all if you are not going for the big law job. In a big firm having a baby could hurt you career wise if you did it when you first started with the firm... but in a public interest that isn't going to hurt you.

And as the other poster said being pregnant can be a complete gamble, with our kids my wife was sick as dog every day for 9 months, with the second she never even felt queasy... you wont know how your body will react until it happens. The classmate I spoke of that had a baby in law school was never sick... I don't know what she would have done if she had been sick every day, possibly taken a year off.

And don't assume that day care will be affordable, day care is affordable when its a toddler. But when you are talking infants the price is about double.

krj02004
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Re: Baby-friendly T14 schools?

Postby krj02004 » Thu Aug 19, 2010 11:26 pm

I've currently just started 1L, and I have 2 children-- a 22month old and a 3 year old. I also had my 3 year old while in undergrad and was pregnant my last semester of college with my son.

Please heed my advice: Don't do it. It's not worth the risk...you cannot plan how your pregnancy will go. If you get really sick that means you put school on hold. If you just have morning sickness, that is a serious inconvenience during studying time and exams....and the overwhelming fatigue during your first trimester? Forget it. And what if your child is born with some issues that require you to stay home for a little while (as my son was born with)? You've just wasted thousands of dollars in loan and tuition money. Again, we all hope for the best when we become pregnant... but with as big of an investment as law school, you really need to carefully think through all the possible outcomes.

I'm not trying to be a downer, just realistic. I've been through it twice with undergrad and I'm going though it now in only my 1st week of classes. It's rough...and I do attend a Top-30 school, so the pressure is on. And keep in mind I was in my early 20s, and healthy. Being in your 30s, your body is just going to respond to pregnancy differently...it may be harder. Or is may not be...the point is you just don't know. And aside from the financial strain (which is actually the least of your worries), you have never experienced the emotional and mental overhaul as a new parent. It's intense. And so very worth it on a human level...but it's hard to balance all of that with your professional/academic life.

Again, I'm not trying to be mean or blunt....just truthful. I'm trying to share with you some life experiences! Have the baby now...and then go back to law school in 2 years. Or, get pregnant during your 3L year if you just have to start law school now. But DON'T be pregnant as a 1L.....it is positively the worst idea ever. Just because you CAN do something doesn't mean you SHOULD :)

If you have anymore questions, I would be more than happy to share more of my story with youover PM. I love when mom's succeed in their professional goals....but don't make it harder on yourself! Trust me....there is time for babies :).

...but if you just can't wait, maybe your should look into a part-time program at a lower-tiered school. If you are set on public interest that might not be such a bad thing....not everything is T14 or bust...

scat_cat
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Re: Baby-friendly T14 schools?

Postby scat_cat » Fri Aug 20, 2010 12:35 pm

You guys have it backward. The stress is much lower at a highly ranked school (especially HYS where they've almost done away with grades) because there's less competition for jobs. Public interest jobs are prestige-hungry too, even if they are less picky grade-wise. So probably you should choose the highest-ranked school you can get into, just like everyone else is doing.

You can certainly have a kid in law school, especially if you aren't gunning for top of the class. I'm at Chicago, which doesn't have a terribly kid-friendly schedule (quarter system = one more exam period to get sick/feel tired/go into labor in), but I have two friends who had their first children near the end of 1L and 2L respectively, and they both have healthy kids and are on track to have fabulous public-interest careers. Don't underestimate how hard it is, but also don't underestimate how hard it is to have a kid a year or two into a new career either.

I would say, try for HY above S or Chicago (grades + semester/quarter consideration), possibly NYU or Columbia if you have money, or maybe a top regional school.

krj02004
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Re: Baby-friendly T14 schools?

Postby krj02004 » Fri Aug 20, 2010 3:27 pm

Just curious...do you have children and/or been through law school pregnant/with kids?

scat_cat wrote:You guys have it backward. The stress is much lower at a highly ranked school (especially HYS where they've almost done away with grades) because there's less competition for jobs. Public interest jobs are prestige-hungry too, even if they are less picky grade-wise. So probably you should choose the highest-ranked school you can get into, just like everyone else is doing.

You can certainly have a kid in law school, especially if you aren't gunning for top of the class. I'm at Chicago, which doesn't have a terribly kid-friendly schedule (quarter system = one more exam period to get sick/feel tired/go into labor in), but I have two friends who had their first children near the end of 1L and 2L respectively, and they both have healthy kids and are on track to have fabulous public-interest careers. Don't underestimate how hard it is, but also don't underestimate how hard it is to have a kid a year or two into a new career either.

I would say, try for HY above S or Chicago (grades + semester/quarter consideration), possibly NYU or Columbia if you have money, or maybe a top regional school.

scat_cat
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Re: Baby-friendly T14 schools?

Postby scat_cat » Fri Aug 20, 2010 3:58 pm

krj02004 wrote:Just curious...do you have children and/or been through law school pregnant/with kids?


You need not fake curiosity. Why would I be talking about my friends if I had personally been pregnant in law school or had children in law school? I never claimed first-hand knowledge of pregnancy/childrearing, just law school. (And I'm on the older side.)

I can tell the OP that Chicago has a lactation room and that it is not smart for anyone hoping to get a job after he or she graduates to go to a part-time program. Law is a shockingly snotty profession, and people should be aware of that before they apply. But you are responsible for yourself at law school, and since you're your own boss--especially after 1L--you can avoid or skip classes in a way that you can't or shouldn't avoid or skip work.

I wouldn't be surprised to learn there are fewer parents in higher-ranked schools--the student populations tend to be slightly younger than in the lower-ranked schools I'm familiar with. But that doesn't mean you should go to a lower-ranked school. The schoolwork isn't easier, and it definitely won't be easier to find the job you want after school.

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homestyle28
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Re: Baby-friendly T14 schools?

Postby homestyle28 » Fri Aug 20, 2010 4:20 pm

So this is not exactly a direct experience response. I was accepted to Northwestern for this years class, but my wife got pregnant in January. We had some medical issues that made moving/changing Dr.s pretty tough. I visited campus over their spring break and explained our situation to one of the admissions folk. She went out of her way to make sure we got approved for a deferral...her general manner made me think that young families there are somewhat common (it's the older student t-14 of choice) and are welcomed there. She did talk about how much harder 1l is with kids, so your thoughts about waiting to at least get through that seem wise...of course that means losing your 1l summer job opportunity, which I'm sure you've thought about...In summation I'd bet NU would be most understanding/friendly.

PS in my experience you can't count on having that kid on your timing

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legalease9
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Re: Baby-friendly T14 schools?

Postby legalease9 » Fri Aug 20, 2010 5:36 pm

I know you asked about T14 schools, but since you also said you are looking at the lower T1, check out the UW. They are VERY acommodating to both kids and older students. They even do a whole room where you can watch the class with your kid remotely.
Last edited by legalease9 on Fri Aug 20, 2010 5:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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legalease9
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Re: Baby-friendly T14 schools?

Postby legalease9 » Fri Aug 20, 2010 5:39 pm

scat_cat wrote:The stress is much lower at a highly ranked school (especially HYS where they've almost done away with grades) because there's less competition for jobs. Public interest jobs are prestige-hungry too, even if they are less picky grade-wise.


This is very credited, and should be fully understood by all perspective applicants.

12262010
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Re: Baby-friendly T14 schools?

Postby 12262010 » Fri Aug 20, 2010 5:41 pm

People at Columbia have a tendency to kick babies.

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legalease9
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Re: Baby-friendly T14 schools?

Postby legalease9 » Fri Aug 20, 2010 5:49 pm

booyakasha wrote:People at Columbia have a tendency to kick babies.


How else could they be ranked 4th in the nation...

12262010
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Re: Baby-friendly T14 schools?

Postby 12262010 » Fri Aug 20, 2010 5:51 pm

legalease9 wrote:
booyakasha wrote:People at Columbia have a tendency to kick babies.


How else could they be ranked 4th in the nation...


4th and bitter about it. Leave your babies home.

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thrillhouse
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Re: Baby-friendly T14 schools?

Postby thrillhouse » Tue Aug 31, 2010 6:14 pm

booyakasha wrote:
legalease9 wrote:
booyakasha wrote:People at Columbia have a tendency to kick babies.


How else could they be ranked 4th in the nation...


4th and bitter about it. Leave your babies home.



She kids.

The dean of student services at Columbia did just the thing you're asking about when she went there. There are more than a few CLSers with babies or toddlers. You'd be fine there.




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