Pregnancy and the Workplace

Whether you have had a baby,  are thinking about having a baby, or simply work with someone who has had a baby, pregnancy in the workplace can be a hot topic.  Just like employees, employers often do not know what they should or can do regarding an employee's pregnancy. This year, TYLA addressed these issues in two written guides: Pregnancy and the Workplace: Know Your Rights(for employees) and Pregnancy and the Workplace: Know Your Duties (for employers).  Both can be found on TYLA's Website. Additionally, TYLA Directors Raymond Baeza, Courtney Barksdale Perez, Baili Rhodes and Shannon White participated in two panel discussions for the 10 Minute Mentor Series.  The panel shared their experiences, and discussed applicable employment law. I encourage each of you to check out this series, and share with your employer clients (and your colleagues). #jointheconversation

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A City Attorney on Life and Lawyering

Before I expound on a few words of wisdom about work, kids, marriage, life in general, let me provide a short introduction. A little context will hopefully help you understand where the thoughts expressed below are coming from. I am a lawyer - no surprise there. I have been a licensed attorney for almost eight years. I started my career at a small plaintiffs firm in Houston, but for the past four years, I have been working in municipal law. I am currently the City Attorney for the City of Temple and have been in this position for a little over a year. If you have ever driven on Interstate 35 from Dallas to Austin or vice versa, you have driven through Temple. It is home to Baylor Scott & White Hospital, McLane Company, and one of the newest Buc-ee's in Texas. It is a rapidly growing city with a…

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Leading Ladies: Judge Maria A. Salas-Mendoza

What an honor and a privilege to hear from leaders in our profession on the topic of Diversity.  This week, TYLA Director Raymond Baeza interviewed the Honorable Maria A. Salas-Mendoza, Judge for the 120th Judicial District Court of Texas. Thank you Judge Salas-Mendoza for contributing this week. * Why is diversity important in the legal profession? Diversity is very important in the legal profession because there is greater lack of information about the legal system, lack of trust in lawyers and the system and lack of time and resources among diverse populations, including racial and ethnic minorities and poor people.  Our system is even more intimidating when these individuals cannot find anyone within the system that even looks like them or is empathetic to their unique circumstances. There are many barriers to access and not having diversity in prospective lawyers and the bench only heightens distrust among people who most…

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Salary Negotiations

Salary negotiations can be a challenge for anyone, especially young attorneys.  Many young attorneys aren't sure if it is appropriate to negotiate, or how to even get started in the negotiations process. It seems that women are less likely to negotiate their salaries then men are.  Many people theorize that one of the big reasons for the salary gap between men and women is that women don't try to negotiate their salaries.  Even Sheryl Sandberg, in her book Lean In, discusses her own stress about negotiating her salary when she joined Facebook.   Watch her talk about salary negotiations here. Additionally, the Corporette blog had an interesting discussion this week about how (and when) to negotiate salary and benefits. Read it here: Corporette Have you negotiated your salary and/or benefits? If so, what tips do you have?

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Leading Litigators

How many times have you gone to trial? Many litigators will happily reflect on their experiences in Court.  It always makes me smile when a litigator’s account of their trial sounds as if he or she were Matlock or Perry Mason acting alone as the sole advocate for their client.  In reality very few attorneys prepare for trial by themselves, but rather have surrounded themselves with a trial team.  Of course every team has a leader.  When it comes to battles in the courtroom, how many trial leaders are female? I know for many young lawyers participating in a trial is exciting enough, and the idea of leading the battle is a distant (hopefully not too distant) dream.  However, the Philadelphia Business Journal just reported that women are still “significantly underrepresented as lead trial lawyers.”  Do you agree? How can we make this change?  

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Mommy Guilt is Real, but We Shouldn’t Feel so Guilty

I find that at times the working mom guilt can be overwhelming.  My son the other day commented how all of his friends at school “get picked up by their mommies.”  He was quick to highlight that “I NEVER pick him up!”  Which of course is not true, but then I didn’t want to start a debate with my five year old on why I work. I loved this article by Gabriel Fischer.  His words were so encouraging to me and the message that my employment has a “long-lasting, positive effect” on my children made me smile.   Anything that helps reduce the mommy guilt is a great read! The guilt many working mothers confess to may be real, but it’s looking less and less warranted."  --Gabriel Fisher

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Actually, it’s “Ms”

When I was a first year associate, I received a letter from opposing counsel addressed to “Mr. Rhodes.” I had never spoken to this individual and so apparently, confused by my gender neutral first name, he chose to refer to me as “Mr.” I was so frustrated, how was I supposed to correct this error? I went to my assistant, and we spent way too many billable minutes trying to figure out a tactful (but not rude, I was a first year associate, I couldn’t stand to be rude!) way to make it clear that I am a “Ms.” not a “Mr.” Finally, we decided that she would send back my response letter with a note that said “Please find attached Ms. Rhodes’s response to your letter.” Fast forward a few years and I realized that I not only took an approach that was much too passive, but I wasted…

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