Friday, February 23, 2007

Pregnant Summer Associate

I received the following comment on my earlier post:
"I'm a pregnant 2L and will be a summer associate this summer too... are you worried about how the attorneys you meet this summer will think of you as a pregnant woman? that they will perceive you as not as serious as everyone else"

I was going to respond in the comment section, but I know a lot of people stumble upon this blog by googling "pregnant law student" so I figured I should give my response its own post. I'm actually not very worried about it. If anything, I think they will take me more seriously because I'm starting my family in law school and still working for a firm and finishing my degree. I'm not planning to get pregnant as a 2nd year associate and quit my job- I very much want my roles as mother and lawyer to coexist. Also, my pregnant state will probably make me a better summer because I'm not going to be that way-too-drunk associate at a social event or the one nursing a hangover at work the next morning. Last year I (anonymously) asked a question how being pregnant would affect you as a summer associate during a lunch talk with a BigLaw firm hiring manager and attorneys- they all looked around blankly and finally someone offered- "I guess you'd drink less?" They didn't seem remotely put off by the concept and actually seemed to find it odd a law student would be concerned. Before getting pregnant, I talked with several other students at the law school who were pregnant over their 2L summer. One worked at a DA's office, and 3 were at firms- all had great experiences and didn't think being pregnant made any difference at all (besides not being able to partake in the free booze). Really, if being pregnant does anything, it will give you a great way to bond with all the other attorneys who have families. I've already gotten several emails from attorneys (male and female) at the firm expressing their congratulations and sharing anecdotes about their own recent additions.

A few qualifiers and comments on interviewing: My lack of concern can be attributed in part to the firm I chose- two of the women interviewing me happened to be pregnant and the firm is really trying to sell their women's initiatives and new maternity leave policies. I made my goal of being able to balance work and a family very clear in the interviews and no one seemed put off by that at all (obviously, as I got a callback and offer). Also, coming from a "top" law school could have given me a little more power to push the family plans during an interview- most firms at OCI are there to impress us just as much as we're supposed to try and impress them. I don't want to come off at all elitist, but just let it be known that I'm not advocating being that open with your family plans in every situation. One of my OCI interviewers was pregnant, so I knew she wouldn't be put off by my honesty. I was also not interviewing for V10 NYC firms- maybe they would care more. However, my interviews were still V50 and very prestigious in the market (Texas).

Firms are pretty desperate to attract (and retain) women, and they know that they way they treat you this summer will be seen by every other female summer associate. If they have any PR brains, they'll go out of their way to make sure you're treated just as seriously and given plenty of positive feedback and support. So Anon, I wish you the best, and please feel free to email me with questions and to just let me know how things go for you!

P.S. Transmogriflaw was also a pregnant law student and very pregnant summer associate, so if you haven't already, read through her archives- I found them to be very informative, entertaining, and reassuring.


  1. I was a summer associate at a V25 firm this past summer, and we had at least 2 pregnant summer associates - one with twins. There were absolutely no problems, and like you say, LL, there was likely benefits. Being pregnant (and in my case, having kids - they're 8 and 10 years old) gives you a short cut to being viewed as a grownup, which I cherished while surrounded by some very drunk fellow summers :)

    Best of luck to both LL and the anonymous commenter!!

  2. Thanks everyone! LL, I appreciate the post. To be honest, I did not mention pregnancy or ask too much about balancing family w/work during OCI. But my firm knew I was married and the "balance" issue often came up. And one of the attorneys I got to know during the interview process told me she was pregnant while a 2L summer associate and that she would feel comfortable getting pregnant again while working for the firm.

    Thanks for pointing me to Transmogriflaw's blog. I started reading some of her archives.

  3. I was wondering if anyone could share some advice about this topic. I am a 2L in a state with a failing economy right now (think Big Three), but got a job at a great law firm for the summer. I'm married and really want to start having a family while I finish up law school, as opposed to when I start working, but I am worried that if I get pregnant in the next few months and start showing this summer that they may not extend me an offer. I know that it's illegal to discriminate on the basis of pregnancy, but I'm worried that if push comes to shove and they decide not to hire a summer associates because of the economy, I would be the one they decide not to hire.

    Are my fears valid? And, if I do get pregnant at some point, do I tell anyone about it, or not? Is it better to be open or to keep it to yourself if you can?

  4. Thanks for this post. I'm also pregnant - but only 3 months in - and am working with a big firm this summer (when I'll be 6 - 8 months). I worked for them last summer, and was offered an articling position and accepted for the summer following this one. I have, obviously, gotten pregnant in the interim. I do have a question though. My firm seems very family friendly and does indeed highlight family and work-life balance as a selling point. However, my fiance and I haven't gotten married yet and this is what worries me - even to the extent that I'm contemplating just getting married at the court house and postponing the wedding/party.

    All that to say - does anyone have opinions on how Firms would accept a pregnant law student who is (aghast) unmarried!? Should I just do the court house thing to save the bother. For me, it makes no difference, I'm not conservative and know I'm marrying the wonderful father - we already have two dogs and are buying a home - it's just a timing issue.

  5. Hi Anon! I think your answer depends a lot on the culture of your firm and the people in it (like just about everything). You said you've worked for them before- did they seem like the kind of people who would care? or see it as something negative? I don't think it would matter at my firm. A few people might raise an eyebrow, I guess, but I truly don't believe it would affect your job chances in any way. One of the people who summered with me had two children with a woman he wasn't married to - they were "partners" and preferred to keep it that way. He was a great summer associate and got an offer (though ultimately chose to go somewhere else in a different city).

    I don't think I would let the firm change your plans. If you want to get married before the baby comes do, otherwise, wait until after (if that's what you want). It seems the things people regret when it comes to working in law firms is trying to hard to bend to fit them rather than living their life the way they want (within reason, obviously) and striving to be a good associate while in the office.

    Congrats and best of luck to you!