Pregnancy During Clerkship Term

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Pregnancy During Clerkship Term

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 02, 2013 3:10 pm

I am potentially up for a clerkship position [one, extendable to two, years] and have some considerations to think about, one of which is having a baby (or in this case, not having a baby during the term).

I would otherwise have just held off on trying to have a baby, but I had two miscarriages during my final year of law school and found out I have fertility issues which dont seem serious right now, but then you can never know with these things aside from trial and error. My doctor put me on medication and *thinks* that should resolve the issue, but of course that is not for sure. And I dont want to wait another year to get pregnant, only to miscarry again, and begin the next stage of treatment one year later. And secondly, I really just think emotionally, I can't NOT try after 2 losses. Its hard to explain.

That said, if I dont have any other choice, I am open to the idea of maybe waiting until December to try so that if I do get pregnant, I wouldnt be due until after the first term is over.

Just for the sake of trying to understand my options, I am curious as to how clerkship terms work with maternity leave. Hypothetically speaking, if I were to get renewed for the second term and was due , would the time get tolled? Or would it still just be based on the calendar year? Also, would that be terrible career suicide? If I wind up looking pregnant during the first term, does that signal that I dont care about sticking around?

Do you even have mandatory maternity leave for these kinds of positions?

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Re: Pregnancy During Clerkship Term

Postby sundance95 » Tue Jul 02, 2013 3:19 pm

I'm sorry about your prior miscarriages.

As a side note, you may wish to repost this in the clerkships forum, or perhaps ask a mod to move this thread to that forum. You may get better answers there.

It seems you have two issues; first, what are you entitled to? And second, how will your judge react?

With respect to the second issue, I would imagine that specific judges would treat this differently and it would be hard to generalize.

With respect to the first issue, whether you have a state or a federal clerkship is relevant. I believe that as a federal clerk, you are a federal employee and entitled to whatever maternity benefits federal employees receive as a matter of statute, although you should check that and this isn't legal advice. If a state clerk, you'll need to research how your state will treats its clerks. If they consider them employees of the state, then you'll need to research what you are entitled to as a state employee.

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Re: Pregnancy During Clerkship Term

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 02, 2013 3:49 pm

As a current Federal clerk finishing a two year term, I wish I had done what you're talking about. Some things to consider:

1. Federal term clerks get no maternity leave (or vacation for that matter). You only get the leave the judge provides to you. Some provide a generous amount and some not. Any maternity would be protected under FMLA though you would not be paid. Your clerkship term would not be extended due to maternity leave unless your judge decided to do so. I would think that most judges wouldn't so as to stay on the hiring plan timeline.

2. Leaving a clerkship on a maternity leave, while possible, would pose a hardship on your judge and other clerks. Your judge would have to find a temporary replacement for you while you are out or your co-clerks would have to absorb the work. (Or you'd have to return to work nearly immediately.) How your judge views this would be specific to each judge. My judge would have been ok with it, so I wish I would have done it.

I wish I would have done it, or at least tried, because I think it'll be harder to take maternity leave immediately upon entering a firm than with the clerkship. But hindsight is 20/20. My vote as a woman is to go for it. Read Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg if you haven't. Her views on careers and pregnancy is eye opening. I wish I had taken a different path.

Good luck in your career and in conception/pregnancy health.

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