How to Handle Multiple Parental Leaves in Group Forum

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
Anonymous User
Posts: 382168
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

How to Handle Multiple Parental Leaves in Group

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Oct 08, 2021 7:51 pm

This is definitely a problem of my firm’s creation. Four people in my relatively small group are currently on parental leave at once. The firm didn’t hire anyone new but said just wait until the first year’s/clerks come in. They’re here but it’s slow getting them up to speed.

The increased work has stretched me beyond my breaking point. It has me working on areas outside my expertise and shooting from the hip just to get stuff off my plate. It also has me working with some mircomanagey partners I’ve purposely avoided over the years — the constant phone calls are making me lose my sanity.

I’ve tried talking with partners, who have said I’ll get no new work. But the reality with competing deadlines is that something(s) simply will not get done. I’ve communicated that, but everyone thinks I’ll always get things done like usual.

I am at a loss. I fully support my colleagues taking full leaves and don’t want bad consequences in their matters while they’re gone to impact peoples’ perceptions of leave. But at the same time, it’s unfair and unprofessional for the firm to put me in this position. I’m child free by choice and will never take parental leave — I have a weekend trip planned for later this month and want to stick with it. Two weekend days off in a month for someone billing 200+ per month is objectively reasonable. I have some attractive non law options to fall back on, and part of me wants to say whatever happens, happens.

Anyone have any input or thoughts?

Wanderingdrock

New
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:49 pm

Re: How to Handle Multiple Parental Leaves in Group

Post by Wanderingdrock » Fri Oct 08, 2021 8:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Oct 08, 2021 7:51 pm
This is definitely a problem of my firm’s creation. Four people in my relatively small group are currently on parental leave at once. The firm didn’t hire anyone new but said just wait until the first year’s/clerks come in. They’re here but it’s slow getting them up to speed.

The increased work has stretched me beyond my breaking point. It has me working on areas outside my expertise and shooting from the hip just to get stuff off my plate. It also has me working with some mircomanagey partners I’ve purposely avoided over the years — the constant phone calls are making me lose my sanity.

I’ve tried talking with partners, who have said I’ll get no new work. But the reality with competing deadlines is that something(s) simply will not get done. I’ve communicated that, but everyone thinks I’ll always get things done like usual.

I am at a loss. I fully support my colleagues taking full leaves and don’t want bad consequences in their matters while they’re gone to impact peoples’ perceptions of leave. But at the same time, it’s unfair and unprofessional for the firm to put me in this position. I’m child free by choice and will never take parental leave — I have a weekend trip planned for later this month and want to stick with it. Two weekend days off in a month for someone billing 200+ per month is objectively reasonable. I have some attractive non law options to fall back on, and part of me wants to say whatever happens, happens.

Anyone have any input or thoughts?
In this market? You do what you gotta do, friend. You'll be okay, but only if you stand up for yourself.

Anonymous User
Posts: 382168
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How to Handle Multiple Parental Leaves in Group

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Oct 08, 2021 8:53 pm

I strongly recommend that you take the weekend trip. Stick to it and give everyone a heads up now that you will be out and completely unavailable. Like you said, this is a firm problem.

I was in a similar situation, but not with parental leave - just folks leaving the firm and partners still taking vacations once a month. I was able to go on my weekend trip but was inundated with work because it was still stateside where I would have service (i.e., not camping or international) so I billed 27 hours over 3 days and it ruined my trip. I regret not making it clear that I would not have my laptop or cell service or something.

In response to the workload, my last line to a partner who wasn't getting the hint that I was busy after clocking in 252 hours last month was "Given my current workload, I am unable to take on this new matter without committing malpractice on the other deals that I am currently staffed on." Not sure it's a line anyone should just throw out there, but this guy needed a hard stop.

Anonymous User
Posts: 382168
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How to Handle Multiple Parental Leaves in Group

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Oct 09, 2021 9:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Oct 08, 2021 7:51 pm
I fully support my colleagues taking full leaves and don’t want bad consequences in their matters while they’re gone to impact peoples’ perceptions of leave.
...
I’m child free by choice and will never take parental leave
I'm overall sympathetic and agree that it's the firm's responsibility to make sure they are fully staffed. But these two comments are not compatible.

Anonymous User
Posts: 382168
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How to Handle Multiple Parental Leaves in Group

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Oct 10, 2021 8:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Oct 09, 2021 9:13 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Oct 08, 2021 7:51 pm
I fully support my colleagues taking full leaves and don’t want bad consequences in their matters while they’re gone to impact peoples’ perceptions of leave.
...
I’m child free by choice and will never take parental leave
I'm overall sympathetic and agree that it's the firm's responsibility to make sure they are fully staffed. But these two comments are not compatible.
Why?

Want to continue reading?

Register now to search topics and post comments!

Absolutely FREE!


Anonymous User
Posts: 382168
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How to Handle Multiple Parental Leaves in Group

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Oct 10, 2021 9:52 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Oct 10, 2021 8:42 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Oct 09, 2021 9:13 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Oct 08, 2021 7:51 pm
I fully support my colleagues taking full leaves and don’t want bad consequences in their matters while they’re gone to impact peoples’ perceptions of leave.
...
I’m child free by choice and will never take parental leave
I'm overall sympathetic and agree that it's the firm's responsibility to make sure they are fully staffed. But these two comments are not compatible.
Why?
Why the need to emphasize being "childless by choice" in a conversation about parental leave?

Anonymous User
Posts: 382168
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How to Handle Multiple Parental Leaves in Group

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Oct 10, 2021 9:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Oct 10, 2021 9:52 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Oct 10, 2021 8:42 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Oct 09, 2021 9:13 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Oct 08, 2021 7:51 pm
I fully support my colleagues taking full leaves and don’t want bad consequences in their matters while they’re gone to impact peoples’ perceptions of leave.
...
I’m child free by choice and will never take parental leave
I'm overall sympathetic and agree that it's the firm's responsibility to make sure they are fully staffed. But these two comments are not compatible.
Why?
Why the need to emphasize being "childless by choice" in a conversation about parental leave?
Yes, OP's statement to this effect was unnecessary. But no need to derail.

OP, you should stick w/ what you have planned and stand up for yourself. It is an associate's market right now - nothing bad will happen to you. The partners may just need to spend a weekend working instead of counting all of their money earned off of your back.

Anonymous User
Posts: 382168
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How to Handle Multiple Parental Leaves in Group

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Oct 11, 2021 11:03 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Oct 10, 2021 9:52 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Oct 10, 2021 8:42 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Oct 09, 2021 9:13 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Oct 08, 2021 7:51 pm
I fully support my colleagues taking full leaves and don’t want bad consequences in their matters while they’re gone to impact peoples’ perceptions of leave.
...
I’m child free by choice and will never take parental leave
I'm overall sympathetic and agree that it's the firm's responsibility to make sure they are fully staffed. But these two comments are not compatible.
Why?
Why the need to emphasize being "childless by choice" in a conversation about parental leave?
I don't understand why the two statements are incompatible. I agree that it's irrelevant, though.

Anonymous User
Posts: 382168
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How to Handle Multiple Parental Leaves in Group

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Oct 11, 2021 1:31 pm

I think the idea behind them being incompatible is the implication (not saying OP was implying this, but you do hear it a lot, especially during COVID when some people were unhappy about whatever allowances there were to help parents working from home while their kids were also trying to do zoom school) that because a benefit will never be used by a given person, that somehow it is "unfair" to extend that benefit to others. I imagine it's the same type of complaint that men used to make about women taking maternity leave before we extended parental leave to both parents (I can never take advantage of this benefit so those that do aren't team players/hard workers/as valuable to the firm with the implication being that they should pay a career penalty). We've made a lot of strides in that area, but I totally appreciate OP's concern that taking parental leave not blow back on parents, as the old attitude is still pretty close to the surface in a lot of cases. That being said, OP should of course advocate for themselves and protect their time as best they can, but the reality is that vacation is not going to be given the same deference as parental leave (nor should it), so they may get (and be prepared for) some pushback.

Want to continue reading?

Register for access!

Did I mention it was FREE ?


almostperfectt

New
Posts: 40
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2021 10:47 am

Re: How to Handle Multiple Parental Leaves in Group

Post by almostperfectt » Mon Oct 11, 2021 2:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Oct 08, 2021 7:51 pm
This is definitely a problem of my firm’s creation. Four people in my relatively small group are currently on parental leave at once. The firm didn’t hire anyone new but said just wait until the first year’s/clerks come in. They’re here but it’s slow getting them up to speed.

The increased work has stretched me beyond my breaking point. It has me working on areas outside my expertise and shooting from the hip just to get stuff off my plate. It also has me working with some mircomanagey partners I’ve purposely avoided over the years — the constant phone calls are making me lose my sanity.

I’ve tried talking with partners, who have said I’ll get no new work. But the reality with competing deadlines is that something(s) simply will not get done. I’ve communicated that, but everyone thinks I’ll always get things done like usual.

I am at a loss. I fully support my colleagues taking full leaves and don’t want bad consequences in their matters while they’re gone to impact peoples’ perceptions of leave. But at the same time, it’s unfair and unprofessional for the firm to put me in this position. I’m child free by choice and will never take parental leave — I have a weekend trip planned for later this month and want to stick with it. Two weekend days off in a month for someone billing 200+ per month is objectively reasonable. I have some attractive non law options to fall back on, and part of me wants to say whatever happens, happens.

Anyone have any input or thoughts?
It's not your job to manage associate hiring and parental leave. Do your job, take your planned trip and let the person who is paid 5-10x more than you do their job of handling managing the group.

Anonymous User
Posts: 382168
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How to Handle Multiple Parental Leaves in Group

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Oct 11, 2021 2:47 pm

OP here. Thanks for the comments, everyone. Very helpful.

Regarding the incompatibility statement, I think I could have been more clear. I’ve mentioned what’s going on to colleagues from law school and family members, and the ones who don’t know me quite as well say that one day I’ll be one the taking leave and having others cover for me. There’s still a strong presumption that everyone wants and will have children. I think that mentality comes in to play around the holidays (from shifts at retail jobs to biglaw assignments) when parents’ time with children is often given preference over nonparents’ time for staffing. It’s great that so many strides are bring made wrt parental leave, but I think firms need to do a much better job of remembering everyone, including those who can’t or choose not to have kids.

Again, this situation is completely my firm’s fault. I’m going to stand on taking a few days off, and either the partners can do what needs done, or they can explain to the clients why it didn’t get done.

Anonymous User
Posts: 382168
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How to Handle Multiple Parental Leaves in Group

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Oct 13, 2021 2:40 am

This was me last fall. I got stuck covering when several colleagues were on leave and had 3 back-to-back months of about ~240 hours each. I was so miserable and wanted to rage quit everyday. The worst part was that, despite my working essentially as much as physically possible, it resulted in some angry partners when I was slightly delayed on a few projects and tried to turn down some additional work. I’m still bitter about this whole situation because I was working my butt off but ended up worse for it (had great reviews before this). All of this to say: 1) take your days off, and 2) hope you do a better job than me about documenting issues in writing and communicating about deadlines. Good luck!

Anonymous User
Posts: 382168
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How to Handle Multiple Parental Leaves in Group

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Oct 13, 2021 3:25 pm

Speaking from experience, the firm will not look after you, and when this is finally over, the firm will not give you credit for handling the workload while everyone else was on leave. You need to look after yourself, and unfortunately the easiest way to do this is probably to lateral.

Register now!

Resources to assist law school applicants, students & graduates.

It's still FREE!


Post Reply Post Anonymous Reply  

Return to “Legal Employment”