Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Sharing the News- Firm Edition

Yesterday I finally called The Firm I'm working at this summer in Texas. For those of you who don't know the Texas market- you're required to split your summer between two firms, usually doing 6 weeks at each. I was planning to do my first 6 weeks at The Firm and then come back to Chicago to do 6 weeks at the firm I worked for last summer. Because 6 weeks of work would put me at 36 weeks pregnant and 1000 miles away from my husband and midwife, I was hoping to shorten my stay to only 4.

I initially chose to interview with The Firm for three reasons: its large office and wide variety of practice areas, its commitment to women and families, and its reputation/prestige. In my initial screening interview I talked about my plans to work and have a family and how important it was to me to find a firm that would help enable that goal. One of my interviewers was about 6 months pregnant, so I assumed this was a topic that mattered quite a bit to her as well. During the callback, I talked to several attorneys with children, and during the post-offer flyback and I requested to meet with even more. I realize this isn't fool proof, but I knew JP and I planned to start our family soon, so I did the best I could to find a firm that seemed compatible with our plans. At my other firm interviews I asked the same general questions and didn't get the same feeling as I did from The Firm. Either the women would talk about how great their nanny was and how much work she enabled them to do (I have no problem with nannies, but I'd rather hear about how the firm is flexible and allows them to work from home/spend more time with their children) or the women wouldn't say much of anything and the male partners would point out the firm's official family friendly policies. I ended up going with my gut feeling on the family/flexibility issue alone- all the firms do great work, have great clients, require the same hours, and pay a lot.

Because The Firm is very proud of their female/parent attorney retention rate, I wasn't too worried about telling them about the pregnancy, but I still kept putting it off. Hearing the heartbeat and entering the second trimester left me out of excuses for not notifying them. So I made the call to the partner I had dealt with the most during the interview process (he also happens to be the chair of the litigation department and flex-time committee).

And... he was wonderful. Very positive, very congratulatory, and certain that 4 weeks wouldn't be a problem. He mentioned that 2 women in his department just delivered their babies within 5 days of each other, one week ago. I know I'm just a summer associate and they want to lure me in, but his excitement was genuine (he has 3 kids and talks about them quite a bit) and I am happy to write that I continue to have the same positive gut feeling about The Firm.

1 comment:

  1. Girl, you chose wisely. The Firm sounds awesome and I hope it continues to be. Hubby didn't put family-friendly as a priority in his search for The Firm... he loves the work.. loves his job... but I get stuck with all household duties and I'm sure child rearing.