being pregnant as a 1L... is it possible?

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Mattalones
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Re: being pregnant as a 1L... is it possible?

Postby Mattalones » Thu Apr 08, 2010 1:10 am

Aeroplane wrote:
r6_philly wrote:
Mattalones wrote:I was having a conversation about this and something good came up: discrimination against mothers of young kids.

Say you are pregnant during an interview or during you SA position. You know how easy it would be for them to no-offer you and just say you did a crappy job!? Very ... They are allowed to discriminate against you for being preggers, they just can't say so. Lawyers at Big firms will just talk their way out of it.


Does the ADA cover pregnancies? If not, what legislation makes it illegal? There was just a case on TV here a couple of months ago where a bartender was laid off for being pregnant. The owner reinstated the girl after bad publicity. I didn't think anyone said it was illegal though. It is not illegal to discriminate by weight or appearance if you can prove that it has negative effect on the job you are expected to perform. Pregnancy is a stretch but maybe it is ok if you can explain it?

Yes - it is illegal to discriminate based on pregnancy.
http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/fs-preg.html

It is illegal, and law firms know that. However, they are smart enough to just give you some hard assignment and say you couldn't do it, or cite some trivial error, or whatever. The bottom line is that there are a lot of people who will be like, "Oh, we don't want a women with a newborn starting here. She is going to lag in her work." And, it's not like they would fire you ... its just a no-offer. While it is unfortunate, it is still the case that showing up for SA positions late in your pregnancy is a bad idea b/c people will interpret it wrong.

In the case of firing instead of no-offering:
They call it "building a case" on someone. Basically, they set you up to make mistakes, tell you its okay, write down everything wrong you do, and then submit it all to HR ... Boom, you're done!
Last edited by Mattalones on Thu Apr 08, 2010 1:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Aeroplane
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Re: being pregnant as a 1L... is it possible?

Postby Aeroplane » Thu Apr 08, 2010 1:12 am

Mattalones wrote:It is illegal, and law firms know that. However, they are smart enough to just give you some hard assignment and say you couldn't do it, or cite some trivial error, or whatever. The bottom line is that there are a lot of people who will be like, "Oh, we don't want a women with a newborn starting here. She is going to lag in her work." And, it's not like they would fire you ... its just a no-offer. While it is unfortunate, it is still the case that showing up for SA positions late in your pregnancy is a bad idea b/c people will interpret it wrong.

Yeah I agree with this completely. I would not advise someone to be visibly pregnant at OCI or during SA.

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Re: being pregnant as a 1L... is it possible?

Postby r6_philly » Thu Apr 08, 2010 1:14 am

Aeroplane wrote:Then it would be an issue of your ability to perform the responsibilities, not of being pregnant per se. IIRC: Employers are entitled to set job requirements like being able to lift certain amounts of weight, etc, even if such requirements end up having a disparate impact on who gets ruled out of the job. However, the requirement must in fact be directly relevant to the job (I forget the exact standard the employer must meet on this issue).


For the record, I am not arguing for discrimination, I am just curious. The language in Title VII says any pregnancy related condition. So if you are not able to fit into a certain space (that you otherwise would if you weren't pregnant) then what would the courts do with the requirement? The inability to perform a job would then be caused by the pregnancy itself. You are capable, but your condition of being pregnant renders you incapable temporarily. I am really curious, because I know this brand of discrimination goes on everyday around me, I don't think people usually have any recourse.

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Mattalones
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Re: being pregnant as a 1L... is it possible?

Postby Mattalones » Thu Apr 08, 2010 1:17 am

r6_philly wrote:
Aeroplane wrote:Then it would be an issue of your ability to perform the responsibilities, not of being pregnant per se. IIRC: Employers are entitled to set job requirements like being able to lift certain amounts of weight, etc, even if such requirements end up having a disparate impact on who gets ruled out of the job. However, the requirement must in fact be directly relevant to the job (I forget the exact standard the employer must meet on this issue).


For the record, I am not arguing for discrimination, I am just curious. The language in Title VII says any pregnancy related condition. So if you are not able to fit into a certain space (that you otherwise would if you weren't pregnant) then what would the courts do with the requirement? The inability to perform a job would then be caused by the pregnancy itself. You are capable, but your condition of being pregnant renders you incapable temporarily. I am really curious, because I know this brand of discrimination goes on everyday around me, I don't think people usually have any recourse.

The language suggests that you would treat it the same as a broken arm for an employee who uses his arms to work. Just give him other work for a while, give him leave till he's better, or something just until he's better and can come back to work.

For a pregnant woman, she should get the same treatment.

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Re: being pregnant as a 1L... is it possible?

Postby r6_philly » Thu Apr 08, 2010 1:20 am

Mattalones wrote:The language suggests that you would treat it the same as a broken arm for an employee who uses his arms to work. Just give him other work for a while, give him leave till he's better, or something just until he's better and can come back to work.

For a pregnant woman, she should get the same treatment.


How does that apply to hiring? I fully understand the impact of on the job pregnancy, they will have to treat it as a short term disability. I was talking about hiring since the start.

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Mattalones
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Re: being pregnant as a 1L... is it possible?

Postby Mattalones » Thu Apr 08, 2010 1:54 am

r6_philly wrote:
Mattalones wrote:The language suggests that you would treat it the same as a broken arm for an employee who uses his arms to work. Just give him other work for a while, give him leave till he's better, or something just until he's better and can come back to work.

For a pregnant woman, she should get the same treatment.


How does that apply to hiring? I fully understand the impact of on the job pregnancy, they will have to treat it as a short term disability. I was talking about hiring since the start.

"We found someone who was a 'better fit' for the job." That is all that they have to say if anyone asks, almost no one ever asks.

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Re: being pregnant as a 1L... is it possible?

Postby Jerzeegirl » Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:22 am

I had a baby during undergrad. Obviously the situation is a bit different, but my advice to you is hope for the best and prepare for the worst. You may have the easiest time in the world, or it could be a nightmare. As others have pointed out, the first trimester could be hell. You may have crippling morning sickness. You could also wind up with a high risk pregnancy, which can happen even if you're healthy and not carrying multiples. That means bedrest and possible hospitalization. Even if the pregnancy is uneventful, delivery can be a problem. You may wind up with a cesarean or other problems that can make the first weeks out of the hospital even more exhausting and painful than they ordinarily would be. Then there's the first year. Waking up all night for feedings, post-partum depression and exhaustion. You lose sleep, your hair, and sometimes your sanity. Having kids is a full time job. If you don't want to wait, you don't have to. But be ready for it because it turns your life upside down. And things never go the way you expect. I made it through school but it was the hardest time of my life and my grades suffered. Professors were not understanding or sympathetic. They regard it as a choice, and expect you to work as hard and perform as well as your peers. You can't use it as an excuse for lateness or absence or people will lose respect for you. Just a few things to consider. Hope I'm not scaring you off, but you need to be realistic.

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Re: being pregnant as a 1L... is it possible?

Postby x47point6 » Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:35 am

See the above. I'm starting 1L with a 7 m/o and a 26 m/o. It's difficult, but depending on your personality and ambitions it can work out. For me it's been moments like "Oh, shit--I have a kid. I NEED to do well on the LSAT" and "I NEED to try to wheedle as much FA out of every school I can, regardless of how scary or embarassing that process sometimes is."

Good luck. Make the choice that's right for you.

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Re: being pregnant as a 1L... is it possible?

Postby danquayle » Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:45 am

r6_philly wrote:
danquayle wrote:Come on people... law school isn't that hard. You're better off having your kids while you're still in school, you have far more free time than you will after you have a job. And I don't think many firms will discriminate against you for having kids. They could just as easily consider you more stable, and that you've already had all the kids you plan on having. If they're one of those firms that won't hire you because you have kids, then they're one of those firms that don't want you to have kids ever.

And for what its worth, the students with kids always seemed to do better on average than the unmarried students without kids. Having kids forces you into a routine and forces you to organize, all of which will have beneficial residual effects on your study habits.


Law school may not be that hard, finishing in the top of the class is much harder. So unless you are ok spending 200k and finishing in the bottom half of the class, you have to really consider giving yourself the best shot at doing well, and not just finishing.


You base this upon what experience? You haven't even stepped foot in law school yet. "Working hard" and "doing well" do not have a huge huge amount of correlation. Approach is way more important.

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Re: being pregnant as a 1L... is it possible?

Postby danquayle » Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:49 am

Clair1331 wrote:Admittedly, I am fairly anti-baby in general, but even so, I do not think it would be beneficial to be pregnant 1L or taking care of a newborn/toddler later in law school. Like earlier posters have said, being under so much stress while pregnant will not be good for you or the child. Chronic stress could make you sick much easier and could really affect the health of the fetus and a newborn.

I was advise on this forum that a long-distance relationship along with the stress of law school alone could be enough to ruin my marriage. Many of my friends have been pregnant in the last year, and that stress and having a newborn by themselves have been enough to to visibly strain their marriages. A pregnancy then child with law school? That would be enough to test any relationship to the limit.

And OP wants to go to a T5? Most people would do almost anything to get into a T5 let alone do well in one, but they will not have the distraction of a pregnancy. As others have said, it can be done, but it doesn't seem that many will do it well. Unless there is some health risk, have your child at a point in your life where you can enjoy and appreciate your child growing up.


And everyone that keeps bringing up stress is being silly. LIFE IS STRESS. You think its going to magical stop being stressful after you get that BigLaw job? If anything, the expectations will just keep going up.

Any kind of school is infinitely less stressful than a professional job. If you find it so stressful, you're probably just the type that stresses themselves out over everything.

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Re: being pregnant as a 1L... is it possible?

Postby danquayle » Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:53 am

mrsdraper wrote:
soonergirl wrote:
Clair1331 wrote:And OP wants to go to a T5?


oh, wow. I missed the part about the top 5. In an effort to be diplomatic and somewhat helpful, I'm not going to describe what I think of this plan.

Draper: 100% serious, here's what you need to do. Contact NYU or Columbia or whoever it is you're planning on attending. Call the admissions office and ask if they have any students with infants or toddlers that you could talk to (n.b. misplaced modifier - ideally you'd end up talking to the students, not the toddlers). The admissions office can hook you up with somebody who will be able to give you far more insight than our little motley [strike]crue[/strike] crew can.


Definitely an interesting idea. Thanks.

Regarding the T5 issue though - I'd think this would all be made easier by the T5 factor because theoretically I wouldn't have to do as well to get a good job.


Yes. Less pressure to succeed all around.

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Re: being pregnant as a 1L... is it possible?

Postby SaintClarence27 » Thu Apr 08, 2010 9:43 am

r6_philly wrote:
Aeroplane wrote:Then it would be an issue of your ability to perform the responsibilities, not of being pregnant per se. IIRC: Employers are entitled to set job requirements like being able to lift certain amounts of weight, etc, even if such requirements end up having a disparate impact on who gets ruled out of the job. However, the requirement must in fact be directly relevant to the job (I forget the exact standard the employer must meet on this issue).


For the record, I am not arguing for discrimination, I am just curious. The language in Title VII says any pregnancy related condition. So if you are not able to fit into a certain space (that you otherwise would if you weren't pregnant) then what would the courts do with the requirement? The inability to perform a job would then be caused by the pregnancy itself. You are capable, but your condition of being pregnant renders you incapable temporarily. I am really curious, because I know this brand of discrimination goes on everyday around me, I don't think people usually have any recourse.


Then you have FMLA to prevent your firing. You have (I think) 12 weeks unpaid leave where they are required to keep your position.

edit: This is assuming that you already have the job. Unfortunately, it's very difficult to prove discrimination in actual hiring.

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Re: being pregnant as a 1L... is it possible?

Postby Clair1331 » Thu Apr 08, 2010 9:51 am

[quote="mrsdraper"] And OP wants to go to a T5?

Regarding the T5 issue though - I'd think this would all be made easier by the T5 factor because theoretically I wouldn't have to do [i]as[/i] well to get a good job.[/quote]

I am a bit shocked that you want to go to T5 so that you wouldn't have to do as well in school to get a good job. Most people see going to a T5 nothing short of a miracle, but you are willing to compromise your performance there to start a family? It begs the question of how much you want to go to law school and do well there and what you're willing to do for your future career.

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Re: being pregnant as a 1L... is it possible?

Postby SaintClarence27 » Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:00 am

FWIW, I think people are focusing a lot on how much work law school is. Parenting is the REAL work here. Just being pregnant is a HUGE investment of time, money, and emotion. Shopping, doctor's appointments, shopping, baby showers, sleep, doctor's appointments, shopping, lists, medications, doctor's appointments, shopping, preparation, construction. It's insane. PLUS you're pregnant, so you're exhausted, in pain, and overemotional already. Then the baby comes and the real work begins.

If the husband isn't going to stay at home, or can't afford help, then my advice would be choosing between the two. It would be insane to be pregnant and be a 1L. I'm sure it can be done, but I doubt it can be done well.

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Re: being pregnant as a 1L... is it possible?

Postby hannah87 » Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:05 am

FWIW, my mom found out she was pregnant with me on her 3rd day of 1L. She had my brother during April of 3L. She did OK, graduated on time, and passed the bar on the first try...but she never practiced law. Just something to keep in mind.

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Re: being pregnant as a 1L... is it possible?

Postby r6_philly » Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:21 am

danquayle wrote:
You base this upon what experience? You haven't even stepped foot in law school yet. "Working hard" and "doing well" do not have a huge huge amount of correlation. Approach is way more important.


I base on this experience on the fact that my wife find doing ANY kind of work hard when she was pregnant. If she forgot her birthday, it is hard to imagine how to do well in any kind of school, with any kind of approach.

I don't know who you are, and you don't know me. I have done well in everything I chose to do in life. I can also deal with stress as well as anyone in LS (if not better). Yet I can still tell somethings are harder than others. I don't have to have gone to law school to know that it is harder to finish in the top of the class than to finish in the bottom of the class. Being pregnant or being a mother is going to make that task harder. If you want to argue how that would make it easier, I am all ears.

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Re: being pregnant as a 1L... is it possible?

Postby mrsdraper » Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:25 am

I've gotten a lot of interesting perspective from this thread. It's nice to see that some others are struggling with the same decisions.

My thought process at this point is that school is probably the best time to do it. Life really doesn't get any easier, from what I gather. I'm also planning to have more than one child (hopefully 3 or 4), so I can't wait until I'm 30 to start having kids.

I'm just wondering if now might be the best time, because I'll get the worst 3 months out of the way before school even begins and then would give birth early on in the 2nd semester of 1L, so as to avoid missing finals, etc. Maybe I'm crazy...

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Re: being pregnant as a 1L... is it possible?

Postby CmonSD » Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:29 am

I would maybe wait until 2L. I couldn't imagine being pregnant and studying for my first set of finals. The stress and anxiety of either independently scares me half to death as it is. If you can do it though, more power to ya!

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Re: being pregnant as a 1L... is it possible?

Postby mrsdraper » Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:46 am

Clair1331 wrote:
mrsdraper wrote: And OP wants to go to a T5?

Regarding the T5 issue though - I'd think this would all be made easier by the T5 factor because theoretically I wouldn't have to do as well to get a good job.


I am a bit shocked that you want to go to T5 so that you wouldn't have to do as well in school to get a good job. Most people see going to a T5 nothing short of a miracle, but you are willing to compromise your performance there to start a family? It begs the question of how much you want to go to law school and do well there and what you're willing to do for your future career.



By the way, I'm definitely not going to a T5 so that I won't have to do as well... I'm very very grateful that I have the opportunity. That said, I was just asking whether or not it might be easier to be pregnant/have a baby at a t5 because there is less pressure to be at the top of the class in order to get a good job. I could definitely be wrong about that, too...

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Re: being pregnant as a 1L... is it possible?

Postby Jerzeegirl » Thu Apr 08, 2010 12:11 pm

mrsdraper wrote:I've gotten a lot of interesting perspective from this thread. It's nice to see that some others are struggling with the same decisions.

My thought process at this point is that school is probably the best time to do it. Life really doesn't get any easier, from what I gather. I'm also planning to have more than one child (hopefully 3 or 4), so I can't wait until I'm 30 to start having kids.

I'm just wondering if now might be the best time, because I'll get the worst 3 months out of the way before school even begins and then would give birth early on in the 2nd semester of 1L, so as to avoid missing finals, etc. Maybe I'm crazy...


I think if you read all the advice you'll find that now, for the most part, is not the time. 2L or 3L. Not now. I feel the need to try to shake some sense in to you because you seem a little oblivious to how lucky you are to be going to a T5 and how difficult having a baby will actually be. Yes, people do it. But the women who have problem-free pregnancies without the insane mood swings, annoying cravings, and scary cramping are in the minority. Spend ten minutes on any parenting forum. Put this question to the women of urbanbaby or parenting, who have actually had multiple children and will tell you, its one of the most stressful things on a marriage. Combine that with your hardest year of law school and I believe you're asking for trouble. You asked our opinions, we're giving them. There is no perfect time to have a baby, but at the beginning of something great that you worked so hard for? Seriously? I'd sell an organ to go to a T5 and I feel like you're not giving it the respect it deserves. And by the way, do you realize that babies are very very expensive? The bottles and binkies and diapers and wipes, formula and food and cribs and carriages, swings and bouncy seats, baby videos and books and pregnancy clothes and the layette, the doctors appointments, the vitamins, the pediatrician copays, the Friday night babysitters. . . Thats just the money. Then there's your body. Pregnancy is like a nine month marathon that physically and emotionally drains you. And thats just an easy pregnancy, which you are clearly assuming yours will be or you would put it off instead of risking law school. I hope I don't sound mean or rude but enough mothers here gave you their two cents. And we're mostly telling you to wait. You might want to listen. 26 is young. You do not need to start this second. Your clock has not even started ticking yet. Relax. Enjoy the fact that you were accepted to a great school and you're about to start an amazing journey. Enjoy life a little longer. Enjoy having your husband all to yourself a little longer. Slow down. You don't need to do everything all at once.

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Mattalones
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Re: being pregnant as a 1L... is it possible?

Postby Mattalones » Thu Apr 08, 2010 1:30 pm

Jerzeegirl wrote:
mrsdraper wrote:I've gotten a lot of interesting perspective from this thread. It's nice to see that some others are struggling with the same decisions.

My thought process at this point is that school is probably the best time to do it. Life really doesn't get any easier, from what I gather. I'm also planning to have more than one child (hopefully 3 or 4), so I can't wait until I'm 30 to start having kids.

I'm just wondering if now might be the best time, because I'll get the worst 3 months out of the way before school even begins and then would give birth early on in the 2nd semester of 1L, so as to avoid missing finals, etc. Maybe I'm crazy...


I think if you read all the advice you'll find that now, for the most part, is not the time. 2L or 3L. Not now. I feel the need to try to shake some sense in to you because you seem a little oblivious to how lucky you are to be going to a T5 and how difficult having a baby will actually be. Yes, people do it. But the women who have problem-free pregnancies without the insane mood swings, annoying cravings, and scary cramping are in the minority. Spend ten minutes on any parenting forum. Put this question to the women of urbanbaby or parenting, who have actually had multiple children and will tell you, its one of the most stressful things on a marriage. Combine that with your hardest year of law school and I believe you're asking for trouble. You asked our opinions, we're giving them. There is no perfect time to have a baby, but at the beginning of something great that you worked so hard for? Seriously? I'd sell an organ to go to a T5 and I feel like you're not giving it the respect it deserves. And by the way, do you realize that babies are very very expensive? The bottles and binkies and diapers and wipes, formula and food and cribs and carriages, swings and bouncy seats, baby videos and books and pregnancy clothes and the layette, the doctors appointments, the vitamins, the pediatrician copays, the Friday night babysitters. . . Thats just the money. Then there's your body. Pregnancy is like a nine month marathon that physically and emotionally drains you. And thats just an easy pregnancy, which you are clearly assuming yours will be or you would put it off instead of risking law school. I hope I don't sound mean or rude but enough mothers here gave you their two cents. And we're mostly telling you to wait. You might want to listen. 26 is young. You do not need to start this second. Your clock has not even started ticking yet. Relax. Enjoy the fact that you were accepted to a great school and you're about to start an amazing journey. Enjoy life a little longer. Enjoy having your husband all to yourself a little longer. Slow down. You don't need to do everything all at once.

+14

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Tweek
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Re: being pregnant as a 1L... is it possible?

Postby Tweek » Thu Apr 08, 2010 1:41 pm

No specific knowledge is required to tell you this: waiting a year certainly won't kill you! I think waiting until 1L summer / 2L will help you get some perspective, and if you decide to go for it then, you will be in a better position to succeed both as a law student AND as a spouse and parent.

If you are worried about employment discrimination due to pregnancy (sad reality), you can try to time it so that you are in the early stages of pregnancy when you interview and you've already had your baby by the time you're a SA in the summer of 2L.

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Re: being pregnant as a 1L... is it possible?

Postby mrsdraper » Thu Apr 08, 2010 2:57 pm

does anyone know if it's possible to take off a semester during law school? could i theoretically take off my 2nd semester?

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CmonSD
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Re: being pregnant as a 1L... is it possible?

Postby CmonSD » Thu Apr 08, 2010 2:59 pm

mrsdraper wrote:does anyone know if it's possible to take off a semester during law school? could i theoretically take off my 2nd semester?


If you are going to do that, why don't you just try defer your admissions for a year?

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Re: being pregnant as a 1L... is it possible?

Postby Pearalegal » Thu Apr 08, 2010 3:01 pm

mrsdraper wrote:does anyone know if it's possible to take off a semester during law school? could i theoretically take off my 2nd semester?


Of course you could, but you're going to completely screw up OCI and your chances at a summer associate position. Come on now, I hope you've researched this enough.




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