Babies, Bio-Clocks, and the Billable Hour.

Talk about a phrase that can send this young lawyer into a bit of a panic.  I mean, is there a series of words that is more panic inducing than those for young female lawyers??

 

Sure, I don’t have kids yet.  But that’s exactly what all the panic is all about. My mommy lawyer friends are well-settled into a life where kids and family are obviously the most important thing, even when work remains an important priority. Life has got to be hard, balancing all of those actual real-life demands. No question.  But what if all those things are still hypothetical…you are just starting a family, or want to, and you’ve got two clocks ticking loudly in the background—the one that says your running out of time!! And the one that says you better bill some time or watch your professional trajectory stall out just when it’s getting good!

 

I’ve long thought that the greatest cross us girls have to bear is the time limit on our reproductive years.  And for us lawyer-types, the timing seems particularly unfortunate, and maybe even a little unfair. Most of us finish law school between the ages of 25-27, leaving us just 5-7 years to establish our careers and practice before its time to start locking up our baby plans.   Demonstrating to our firms that we are as committed to our legal practice as our male counterparts is difficult when you feel like all of your life’s hopes and dreams for family are coming to a screeching halt thanks to something you have absolutely no control over…thanks bio-clock, who needs you anyway!

 

So what’s the solution? Freeze eggs early and often?  Perhaps we push for a separate, but equal (yeah, right) mommy track for those of us who want our professional careers and some sweet babies. Or is it time that us girls realize that we can have it all, just not all at the same time?

 

What do you think?

Amber James

Amber is a shareholder with the firm of Atkins, Hollmann, Jones, Peacock, Lewis & Lyon in Odessa where she maintains a commercial litigation practice that is heavily influenced by the robust oil and gas driven economy of West Texas. Prior to moving to Odessa, Amber was an associate with the firm of Sprott, Rigby, Newsom, Robbins, & Lunceford in Houston.

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  48. This is the sad but true reality of today’s world and is the unfortunate curse of being a young female in the workplace. However, that said, I think there are still opportunities to have it both ways. I was fortunate enough to make partner at my law firm the year I had my first child (and was off work for 8 weeks). While I certainly acknowledge that this may not be the norm, there are more and more firms out there that understand the demands of the family (from both the male and female perspective) and also respect the demands of the practice. I write this to say that perhaps just as important as our commitment to our families and our practices is a commitment to finding a job that respects both. I may be naïve, but I do believe there are plenty of opportunities out there in which one does not have to make these tough choices of sacrifice of work or family.

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