Juggling law school and parenting

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akrogers
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Juggling law school and parenting

Postby akrogers » Sun Jan 11, 2015 3:09 pm

Can you attend law school and still raise a child? I'm a senior in undergraduate school and married. I have a 4.0 GPA and will take my LSAT in December 2015. My husband and I would like to try for a child before our lives get too hectic and put the "family" off. Will having a child before my start of law school be too much for me to handle? We are trying to plan our lives accordingly. If I were to apply to a T14 school would they have a certain type of child care if needed for their students? Any advice will be greatly appreciated!

Thanks a million! ~Ana

Hutz_and_Goodman
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Re: Juggling law school and parenting

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Sun Jan 11, 2015 4:02 pm

I can't speak from personal experience but there are more than a dozen students in my law school class with at least one child so it's definitely possible.

JJDancer
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Re: Juggling law school and parenting

Postby JJDancer » Sun Jan 11, 2015 4:22 pm

Can your husband/someone else take over the bulk of childcare responsibilities during 1L? If so, it could work.

arklaw13
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Re: Juggling law school and parenting

Postby arklaw13 » Sun Jan 11, 2015 4:29 pm

I can't imagine having kids during law school, let alone a newborn. If you want a kid sometime during law school, my suggestion would be to wait until after 1L to actually have the kid. You could time it right and conceive in the fall of 1L to where you would have the baby during your 1L summer job, which doesn't matter. Research for a prof or something and they won't care. Just don't wait too late or you'll still be pregnant during OCI, which wouldn't be good.

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phillywc
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Re: Juggling law school and parenting

Postby phillywc » Sun Jan 11, 2015 4:30 pm

I know tons of people with kids at my t14 and they seem fine, but an actual infant might be really rough during 1l. If you took a year or two off and went into law school with a like 2 year old you'd probably be fine.

jdmrsinnc
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Re: Juggling law school and parenting

Postby jdmrsinnc » Wed Apr 29, 2015 4:17 am

phillywc wrote:... an actual infant might be really rough during 1l. If you took a year or two off and went into law school with a like 2 year old you'd probably be fine.


Ditto. I was a single mom in law school with a 2-year-old. Now I'm graduating with a (still alive, non-neglected, and reasonably well-balanced) 5-year-old. I remember when my son was a newborn, I was just f*ing stupid, my brain couldn't function without sleep, and the hormones really mess you up. I can't imagine trying to go to school having been up all night nursing a newborn. It was difficult enough juggling class on days that the day care was closed or my kid was sick (he's been to more law school classes than some 3Ls I know...)

That being said, a girl in my 1L class got pregnant, took a semester off, and returned with a happy, healthy baby. When we all posted on facebook about how excited we were to be finished with law school, she posted "not done with law school, but I have this cute baby to show for it."

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navykev
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Re: Juggling law school and parenting

Postby navykev » Wed Apr 29, 2015 5:45 am

akrogers wrote:Can you attend law school and still raise a child? I'm a senior in undergraduate school and married. I have a 4.0 GPA and will take my LSAT in December 2015. My husband and I would like to try for a child before our lives get too hectic and put the "family" off. Will having a child before my start of law school be too much for me to handle? We are trying to plan our lives accordingly. If I were to apply to a T14 school would they have a certain type of child care if needed for their students? Any advice will be greatly appreciated!

Thanks a million! ~Ana


What about a part-time program? You got the kids during the day - your husband has them at night. Georgetown has a PT program that might work. Just another option.

jsmith201
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Re: Juggling law school and parenting

Postby jsmith201 » Wed Apr 29, 2015 6:38 am

I know of a few students who had a baby in their 1L year. Only one of them was a woman. She got a lot of help from family in the beginning but then she had to be ok with sending her kid to daycare. (I'm not anti-daycare). But for the most part most of the parents at my school are dads. It is harder for the moms...that's a fact. I am having a baby this year (fall 3L). I don't plan on being too involved in school activities. So that's a choice you might have to make.


Very doable but I would NOT have a baby 1L year. Feel free to PM if you have more questions.

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haus
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Re: Juggling law school and parenting

Postby haus » Wed Apr 29, 2015 8:54 am

navykev wrote:
akrogers wrote:Can you attend law school and still raise a child? I'm a senior in undergraduate school and married. I have a 4.0 GPA and will take my LSAT in December 2015. My husband and I would like to try for a child before our lives get too hectic and put the "family" off. Will having a child before my start of law school be too much for me to handle? We are trying to plan our lives accordingly. If I were to apply to a T14 school would they have a certain type of child care if needed for their students? Any advice will be greatly appreciated!

Thanks a million! ~Ana


What about a part-time program? You got the kids during the day - your husband has them at night. Georgetown has a PT program that might work. Just another option.

I am in a (unusual) part-time program, about half of us have children. Although I agree with the other posters that it would be tougher with a newborn.

whats an updog
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Re: Juggling law school and parenting

Postby whats an updog » Wed Apr 29, 2015 2:24 pm

I'm a 1L dad. It's doable so long as your significant other is willing to allow you to disappear during finals. My kid was 3 going in though and I would not recommend having your first child during 1L unless the school is sufficiently near some grandparents who don't mind putting in work themselves.

I have heard that 3L is a perfect time to have a kid though.

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BVest
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Re: Juggling law school and parenting

Postby BVest » Wed Apr 29, 2015 9:46 pm

3L dad here... kid born early in 2L year. Wife wasn't working a lot during 2L (she was, but they were small projects about 10-15 hours/week), so that wasn't bad, plus, after 1L, you've got things pretty well figured/scheduled out such that you can leave the house around 9:30 and get home around 4 and just do that 4 days a week. Obviously sometimes you have to go longer.

For finals during 2L, grandmother came to town for 4 days and we brought in babysitters to help for another 4 days for the fall, and in the spring the wife and kid went to visit grandparents. Finals during 3L were rougher because wife was working full time (she was actually transitioning from one part-time job to another, thus about 50 hour workweeks for her, though kid was in daycare by then. This upcoming finals week won't be bad because my 3LOL schedule has just one final.

I have two friends who just had babies at the beginning of the 3L spring semester. One (female) planned for this all along and only has a class that meets once a week in the evening and an advanced clinic that she can do remotely. The other (male) was also ahead on hours and therefore only has three classes with a compact schedule.

As for childcare, we just go to a local daycare. UT has an incredible daycare, and students are at the same top priority level as full-time faculty and staff... unfortunately it has a 24-36 month waitlist for the youngest kids, so by the time you get off the waitlist, you no longer qualify to attend.

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Capitol_Idea
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Re: Juggling law school and parenting

Postby Capitol_Idea » Wed Apr 29, 2015 9:56 pm

GULC 2L part-timer with 3 kids born during law school. It is... difficult. But doable. Grandparents help every week, we have the toddler in daycare now, and I eventually quit my job to spend more time with the kids during school. GULC part-time is VERY doable for parents - I imagine others are as well.

Protip: Don't have twins. Also don't have a kid two weeks before finals. How I managed to survive law school thus far I'll never know.

dancingbear
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Re: Juggling law school and parenting

Postby dancingbear » Sat May 02, 2015 2:24 am

Being a mother of young children and a successful law student is very, very difficult. (not impossible, but it sometimes feels that way) I am currently finishing up my 1L year (yes, I am currently avoiding studying for my Monday morning final). My children were 3 & 6 when I started law school. I thought that I would be able to handle it fine because I worked before starting law school with my children in childcare. I was prepared for the difficulty of the material that I would be studying in law school, but I was not prepared for the difficulty of the massive time commitment that studying, researching & writing would take. No matter how much I would like to say that we have progressed in gender equality, it is simply more difficult to be a mother in law school than it is to be a father. The vast majority of parents in my classes are dads. Mothers are the smallest minority in my class. In my 1L class, there are only a couple mothers and I think there are only 5 in the whole law school.

I would echo what a couple other people have said and I would not recommend starting law school with a baby that is under 6-9 months old, nor would I recommend getting pregnant while you are in law school. My biggest recommendation for being successful in law school with children is to do what I did. If there is a relatively decent law school (top 50-100 or better) in a state that you want to practice in after you graduate that is at all remotely close to family, pick that one. I cannot overemphasize enough how much you will need to have family support close by. Because you have to assume that, with children, at some point you will have a child throwing up on the morning of a final exam that is the same day that your husband is out of town on a business trip. (hasn't happened yet, but have to assume it could)

Note: it is NOT impossible to be successful in law school with kids. I have done very well so far this year. However, go in with your eyes wide open and be aware that, if you are a mother while you are in law school, your experience will be very different from the vast majority of your classmates.

MickeyMouse000
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Re: Juggling law school and parenting

Postby MickeyMouse000 » Sun May 31, 2015 11:46 pm

I am a 3L graduating in December from a t14, with a big law position lined up. My daughter was born premie at the start of my 3L year and I ended up taking a semester off and graduating in December instead of May. While it is certainly doable to have a child as a law student I would not suggest planning for it as you never know how things will turn out. If you wait a few years and work first you have the security if having maternity leave and saving money before becoming a parent.

If you have more specific questions about talking to administration or being pregnant as a summer I would be happy to chat. Best of luck with whatever you decide.

DrRighteous
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Re: Juggling law school and parenting

Postby DrRighteous » Mon Jun 01, 2015 5:50 am

zacharus85 wrote:GULC 2L part-timer with 3 kids born during law school. It is... difficult. But doable. Grandparents help every week, we have the toddler in daycare now, and I eventually quit my job to spend more time with the kids during school. GULC part-time is VERY doable for parents - I imagine others are as well.

Protip: Don't have twins. Also don't have a kid two weeks before finals. How I managed to survive law school thus far I'll never know.


There are some challenges you'll face here - speaking as the bearer of those 3 children and a working professional while Zacharus was in law school.

1. I don't know your spouse, and they are probably a million times nicer than I am. But I never cut Zacharus any slack. It is difficult for me, no matter how important law school is (YES I know it is important), to register it on the same level of importance as my job/s, which pay the mortgage, food, bills, etc. I registered him in my head as the primary parent while he was in law school, and that's put a fair amount of pressure on him. Days he's not in class, I expect him to be home with the kids, etc. Whenever he finished a final, take home or otherwise, I would immediately throw a child at him, and I made him schedule his studying. Yes, that's brutal. But if your spouse is dead set on their career and you can't afford daycare (the situation we were in for awhile) or have family take care of the kids most of the time, something's gotta give.

Also, re-reading that paragraph makes me sound like a terrible person. Awesome!

2. Zacharus is a GREAT dad. A truly awesome dad. BUT. It's absolutely going to be harder on you as a mom, at least in the initial months. Birth is a physical event, and takes time to recover from. And, if - as other posters noted - you decide to breastfeed or pump, the burden is on you to get that sweet snugglett fed. We went with formula from the beginning with the twins, and close to the beginning with my first, which made a huge difference. Zacharus and I split the nights, so even with twins, it only took 1-2 months before we weren't total zombies anymore. Makes it easier for others to care for your kids, too. Just teach them how to make a bottle and rock out. Of course, everyone has a strong opinion on breast v. bottle, so if you're dead set on breastfeeding, just take that sleep deprivation and food dependence into account.

Even with all of the above said, anything is doable if you're willing to live on caffeine. I currently have 2 jobs and I'm also currently home 4 out of 5 week days with the 3 month old twins. I wake up with the last overnight feeding (around 4 am), get work done. Around 6:30-7, Zacharus and I get the 3 kids ready for the day. 7:15, Zacharus takes the golden haired child to daycare and I'm left with the twins. Since they're blobby boring infants, I let them play on their various chairs/mats/etc., rotating every 15-20 minutes and holding them when they're sad. I work almost the whole day, since you can still type while holding a baby. I only don't work if they're both flipping out, or if one needs to be walked/bounced rather than held. Etc. Then I work after all of the kids are in bed at 7.

My top tips:
1) Plan to have your child (haha! Good joke!) in late May and give yourself the summer to get out of those first three blobby months.
2) Get some kind of baby wearing device for the first 2-3 months - easier to work if your hands are free and this is a clingy stage
3) Bottle feed for more sleep, then screw your sleep anyway and get up early to get stuff done
4) Put the kid on the schedule so you know roughly when they'll nap daily - helps get calls in (yes, I know not many calls are needed for law school)
5) Recruit help. Family to watch kid, friends to bring food so you don't have to bother with cooking for months.
6) Plus the stuff people say above, like considering a PT program.

PM Zacharus and/or I for more tips or if you have specific questions. He's got the law school part, I've got the womb part.

OH and GULC has daycare, and students are given priority, but it costs.

ETA: IMO, damned if you do, damned if you don't on timing. If you have a child during law school, you're gambling with your career if you don't have enough help to take the pressure off so you can study. Also, you might be tight on money, making childcare hard to afford. If you have a child as an associate, you will possibly get yourself off-track. I experienced major pregnancy discrimination, even the second time around when they already knew I work through maternity leave. Projects I was on evaporated, and no one put me on anything knew - a very common experience for pregnant women in the workplace as no one wants to be left high and dry when that kid comes. Yes, I know, #notallfirms, but either way it's a gamble.

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Coprolalia
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1L dad

Postby Coprolalia » Mon Jun 01, 2015 7:45 pm

Definitely possible, perhaps even desirable if you're planning to go into Big Law. My daughter was born early last year, I started 1L at a T14 school in September. Doing well in school. Another one on the way (timed for just after finals next December). My wife doesn't work though. Law school was the easy part. Now that I'm working full time over the summer, I see less of my daughter (although it's nice to have weekends back).

One piece of advice, sleep train early. Baby should be sleeping 12 hours a night after three months.
Last edited by Coprolalia on Mon Jun 01, 2015 9:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Nomo
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Re: Juggling law school and parenting

Postby Nomo » Mon Jun 01, 2015 7:56 pm

I don't have kids. But from what I can tell most people find that its much easier to get through law school with kids than it is to survive legal employment with kids.

Your hours are very flexible in law school because you are only in class a few hours a day. And your workload is constant, with the exception of exam time - but you know when exam time is months in advance. The practice of law has more stringent face time requirements, an erratic schedule that can't be predicted far in advance, and generally longer hours than law school.




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