EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the third and final post in the blog series Diary of a Pregnant Lawyer – Pregnancy in the Professional Workplace. The first blogmester is here, and the second is here. Mallory wrote all three installments before she had her baby on December 22.

pregnant woman and high heel shoes
“Uh, I don’t think so!”

Welcome to the Third Blogmester! This blogmester feels very near and dear to my heart, because as I am writing this one I am about as preggo as a preggo can be. I am very uncomfortable, owing to the giant baby mushing all of my innards, and writing in between contractions. Don’t worry – they are not timeable (I don’t think?).

But remember at the very beginning of my blog series when I said practicing law while being pregnant is hard? Well, that sentiment stems mostly from the third trimester, during which the difficulty of working in a professional atmosphere correlates with the growing of the baby bump. Heels, suits, pantyhose – HECK NO to all of these things, I say! I am now proudly rocking the “frumpy” professional look because it is truly the best I can do short of showing up in my pajamas.

Continue Reading Diary of a pregnant lawyer: Third blogmester

During college, law school and the first few years of my practice, I never gave much (ok, any) thought to taking a break from work.  I was too focused on developing a career. Planning to not work – apart from the very distant notion of retiring someday – never really dawned on me.  In the abstract, I had formed a belief that being a professional woman would somehow provide me with options if and when I ever wanted to exercise them.  So, sure, if I could afford to take a few years off after maternity leave and return to work once my future children reached elementary school age, I could do that.  But, what I didn’t appreciate was how difficult it could be to exit and then return to my profession once I had my own clients and was responsible for my own workload.  Where would my value lie if all of my clients were transitioned to other attorneys during my absence?  What would I come back to? Realistically, could I ever really take extended time off from work and return to the career that I was working so hard to build?

Fast forward a few years (ok, maybe more than a few) and this has become a very familiar topic of discussion among my friends who work in a variety of fields.  It seemed, somehow, to catch many of us off guard that professional success and tenure made it difficult to take a prolonged break from work and return to our careers.  Sure, we would expect to find employment, but could we ever return to roles that were comparable to the ones that we had before?

Regardless of the personal decisions ultimately reached or paths taken, questions about whether it would be possible to successfully return to the workforce after a significant break are important – and I think that women especially should be asking these questions and considering these issues much earlier in our careers – before our 30s.

sabbatical

It is a fact that more women than men leave the workforce to care for a parent, spouse or child, and there are many other reasons professionals take extended leaves like military service, extended volunteer work, personal illness, sabbatical, or extended once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. So, whether planned or not, the possibility of a leave of absence exists for many women. It seems prudent, then, that our arsenal of career development tools and plans includes doing what is necessary to ensure a successful return from an extended leave should we ever need or want to take one.

A while back I was forwarded this video link to a November 2015 TED Talk given by career reentry expert Carol Fishman Cohen:

Continue Reading Plan Ahead for Extended Leaves of Absence – Even If You Never Intend to Take Them

Nashville partner Teresa Bult is providing a guest post today.

Lately, I keep reading articles about how horrible the networking process is, especially for introverts and lawyers (oh wait, that may an oxymoron). And I must say, when I first started out networking, I felt exactly the same way. I still tell young associates that networking and marketing can seem like the “fine art of beating your head up against the wall.”

You can spend hours and hours and meeting after meeting and cocktail event after
cocktail event, and never walk away with any business. And the reality is, we Womens Busienss Socialare now in a legal market where young associates are told when they walk in the door of many law firms that they not only need to be good at sitting alone in their office understanding and dissecting the law, but also counterintuitively, out socializing and developing relationships and business. What? What? These two things do not mesh with lawyers’ (or introverts’) personalities, and the dichotomy might just be enough to push some lawyers off the ledge (as if lawyers didn’t have enough pressure to be hanging by a thread, anyway).

Even in-house attorneys have this problem. They need to connect with their business partners and are expected to “network” with other in-house counsel, outside counsel, and those in the C-suite. From what I understand from my peers, it can be a miserable endeavor.

Over the years, however, I have figured out it just isn’t that hard. Indeed, the fact that so many lawyers and other more introverted salespeople THINK networking is so hard is the precise reason it isn’t. It isn’t hard to distinguish yourself in a crowd of people who are clearly networking as they are gritting their teeth. Continue Reading Inverting views on Networking: How Can You Influence Someone’s Life Today?