Interesting article from Above the Law yesterday:

A federal judge refused to grant a continuance of an immigration hearing finding that the solo practitioner’s maternity leave was not “good cause” sufficient to warrant a continuance. Georgia lawyer Stacy M. Ehrisman-Mickle was forced to attend the hearing with her infant child because Judge J. Dan Pelletier, Sr. refused to approve her motion for a continuance even though she had given birth just a few weeks before. The motion for continuance even included a letter from her physician recommending the leave. The attorney has since filed a formal complaint against the judge, noting not only the failure to grant the continuance but the judge’s treatment of her at the hearing. Here’s a brief excerpt from her complaint, which is available in full at Above the Law:

I was forced to bring my weeks old daughter with me as day care centers do not accept infants less than 6 weeks of age and I have no family in Georgia that could help me look after my baby. … When the IJ saw me with my daughter, he was outraged. He scolded me for being inappropriate for bringing her. He questioned the fact that day care centers do not accept infants less than 6 weeks of age. He then questioned my mothering skills as he commented how my pediatrician must be appalled that I am exposing my daughter to so many germs in court. He humiliated me in open court.

Being an attorney and a new mother can sometimes seem like an impossible challenge. This must be especially true for solo practitioners working without the safety net of other attorneys to share their load when they are taking much needed recovery time postpartum. Certainly, one would expect a recognition of this need from our fellow attorneys and the judiciary.

See the full article here:

http://abovethelaw.com/2014/10/judge-refuses-to-postpone-hearing-because-maternity-leave-isnt-a-good-enough-excuse/

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    I’m another lurker following your story. I’m so sorry. It IS very sad; you’re not being negative, you’re being realistic. Please hang in there. There are a lot of people pulling for you and little Z. Thank you for sharing your story with us, even the hard parts.

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  10. Amber James
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    Just taking this on its face, I’m a bit concerned about the judgment of both the lawyer and the Judge. Should a continuance have been granted? Probably. Should you bring a baby to Court under any circumstances? No. I’m less concerned about the implications this one Judge’s actions may have on women, or more specifically, moms, and more concerned about how we (that’s the collective “we”) are responding to ill-timed or less-than-justifiable decisions/tactics/strategies that affect us daily in the course of our legal practice. As lawyers, we are constantly presented with “opportunities” to return fire with fire, to fan the flame or otherwise get mired in the muck with lawyers (and even Judges) who are regular users of irrational and emotionally motivated tactics that can be maddening to those of us who are working diligently to be good stewards of our profession and good advocates for our clients–happy warriors, if you will. This article is a classic reminder that while we cant control the actions of others, we can certainly control our response to them.

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