Anyone been pregnant as a first year associate in biglaw?

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Re: Anyone been pregnant as a first year associate in biglaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 23, 2014 10:24 pm

I've been there. To be fair, my firm is not "biglaw" but instead a smaller boutique, though with similar intensity and billable hour expectations. I think the way your firm reacts to your pregnancy will be largely impacted by your attitude if/when you share the news. For better or worse, when you have a baby as an associate the expectation seems to be that there is a chance you won't return to practice and an even bigger chance that you are not serious about your career path/becoming partner. I choose to believe that this is because most women who are perceived as 'serious' wait to have a family (or aren't interested in doing so), thus there just aren't that many examples to set expectations. To counteract that, it is helpful if you make it clear that your intentions are 100% to return after your leave. In conversations (because people will inevitably ask awkward questions about you being pregnant), turn the focus to how committed you are to the firm/your job and some interesting project you are working on. Try to avoid spending a lot of time talking about the baby.

Navigating firm life while pregnant can be a double-edged sword. Partners and more senior associates may make irritating assumptions about what you are willing/capable of doing. Take for example an "all hands on deck" email that will require an all-nighter. If you volunteer, expect to get (well-intentioned) push back about whether you should be doing that, or worse, get the silent treatment while others get selected. Though it sounds silly to complain about not getting a terrible assignment, doing good work and showing you are willing to pull weight can earn points. Assuming that you want to advance your career and get as much experience as possible, you will need to work extra hard to make people get to know you, trust your work, and look beyond the fact that you are also an incubator. On the other hand, when you pull through on finishing the brief/doing the emergency assignment, etc, people will be even more impressed because you are pregnant (why? I don't really know, pregnancy can be tiring and uncomfortable at times, but babies are far better behaved before they are born. Still, insulting or not, take what you can get).

That all relates to managing expectations at the firm. As for the question you didn't directly ask, but may be wondering--I don't know that there will be a better time to have a baby if that is in your plans. Logistically, babies are exhausting, but assuming you can take 3-4ish months leave (note that many law firms won't offer paid leave when you haven't worked at the firm for a full year) hopefully you will be sleeping some longer stretches and functioning like a human again when you return. Better to be not operating at 100% before you have bigger, more critical projects on your plate.

Hoping you find peace with whatever you decide. I'll admit to you that I'm almost always exhausted, and that I spend more time with a stray cheerio stuck to the back of my blazer than I care to acknowledge. But, I love my family and would not change it for anything.

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Re: Anyone been pregnant as a first year associate in biglaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 23, 2014 11:14 pm

Current male law student and parent of a 1-year-old (and soon to be a parent of two more coming this Spring): I obviously can't attest to how people at the firm will treat you (which in my mind likely depends on your working group and the firm culture), but the main issue for first-year baby raising is going to be figuring out scheduling. Fortunately, you have two lawyer salaries - this is a problem money can solve. Day cares tend to start taking kids as early as 6 weeks, and/or you can get a nanny/night nurse. You could be back at work relatively soon after birth (a couple weeks, barring any serious complications), so no need to max out on maternity time if you feel it'll cause political problems at the office.

In a perfect world, you'd want to spend more time with the little one early on, but unless you're independently wealthy and/or one of you wants to completely give up a career, it's just not a world most of us can live in. My wife and I decided on having kids while I was in school, which gives me more time to spend with them but waaaay less money - we're looking forward to me making some sweet BigLaw dough so we can finally afford some help. You will be in a much better place in that respect.

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Re: Anyone been pregnant as a first year associate in biglaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 23, 2015 12:13 pm

Hope all went well OP. Wanted to post because I found this thread super helpful when I saw the two pink lines in January. I'm now about 5 weeks from maternity leave and can say that it is doable (so far)...and I wasn't the only first year at our office who got knocked up!

You are expected to make hours but the SO can help with home stuff so you can sleep, and as others have said you are fungible so it is easy to stop your calendar and step away. If anyone else ends up in this fun scenario know that you are not alone, and that it isn't the end of the world!

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DELG
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Re: Anyone been pregnant as a first year associate in biglaw?

Postby DELG » Thu Jul 23, 2015 12:27 pm

lol @ people acting like being pregnant in biglaw is the hard part

it's the newborn part that will fucking wreck your life

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Re: Anyone been pregnant as a first year associate in biglaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 23, 2015 1:13 pm

DELG wrote:lol @ people acting like being pregnant in biglaw is the hard part

it's the newborn part that will fucking wreck your life


Not OP. But a biglaw parent.

DELG: First, there's no need to be a douche. If you want to do that, GTFO off this thread. Second, whether having a newborn will wreck your life or not is a matter of perspective.

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DELG
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Re: Anyone been pregnant as a first year associate in biglaw?

Postby DELG » Thu Jul 23, 2015 1:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
DELG wrote:lol @ people acting like being pregnant in biglaw is the hard part

it's the newborn part that will fucking wreck your life


Not OP. But a biglaw parent.

DELG: First, there's no need to be a douche. If you want to do that, GTFO off this thread. Second, whether having a newborn will wreck your life or not is a matter of perspective.

Why are you trying to kick a fellow biglaw parent out of the thread on biglaw parenting

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Re: Anyone been pregnant as a first year associate in biglaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 23, 2015 2:28 pm

OP here. DELG, it truthfully wasn't having a child that bothered me. Honestly, it was how I would be perceived as a young, unwed mother. Even though it shouldn't be anyone else's issue, people can be judgmental about that kind of stuff. For me, the pregnancy was horrible news and I'm sure it is for many unmarried folks. I personally chose not to continue the pregnancy, and I am amazingly happy with my choice.

For those who experience this, only you can make the right choice for yourself. If you want to have the baby, have the baby. If you don't, don't. Just know that you aren't the only one who will and have had to make the choice.

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DELG
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Re: Anyone been pregnant as a first year associate in biglaw?

Postby DELG » Thu Jul 23, 2015 2:36 pm

Hey girl, I totally respect your choice.

That said, if you'd had a newborn baby as a biglaw associate, trust that having a newborn baby and work both battling it out for who will infringe on your sleep more would bother you, no matter how much you love your kid.

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lisavj
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Re: Anyone been pregnant as a first year associate in biglaw?

Postby lisavj » Thu Jul 23, 2015 3:58 pm

Not sure why I posted anonymously. It's not like it is secret anymore that I'm knocked up...(I'm the one who revived the thread).

I in no way think pregnancy is "the hard part", it's just the first hard part you have to face, and normally you face it alone because you don't want to tell anyone (we didn't even tell friends/parents until about 20 weeks) until the pregnancy is well established and/or you may decide to never tell anyone at work because you decide to terminate/miscarry/etc. It's also hard just because it is the "great unknown" for those of us who have blissfully lived child free before the pee stick happens.

If anyone finds themselves in this situation (full disclosure, I'm married, we were told by doctors we would not have bio kids so the pregnancy was a surprise, and obvi we are keeping the kid) and wants to talk, feel free to PM me. It's nice to have been there done thats to talk to. Assuming I'm not asleep in a corner/crying and rocking/muttering to myself in a corner somewhere post baby, I'll try to reply.




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