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Why Focus on Lawyer Moms?

In an ideal world, everyone would balance a meaningful career and a healthy personal life. For now, I’ve focused my mission on helping lawyer moms achieve that goal. Why?

  • 68% of working moms report feeling “burned out” compared to only 42% of working dads

  • Women are underrepresented in leadership positions within the legal profession

  • A persistent pay gap exists between men and women in law. (This pay gap is even more pronounced for women of color)

  • 30% of women lawyers leave the profession during child-rearing years

  • Women are twice as likely to leave the legal profession than men

  • A persistent pay gap exists between men and women in law. (This pay gap is even more pronounced for women of color)

Although over 70% of mothers with young children work, study after study confirms that mothers are still more often than not the “default parent” - the parent that picks up the slack on childcare - from school pick ups, to activities, to doctor appointments, to bedtime routines. It’s no surprise that the people who are juggling full-time careers and serving as the default parent are more likely to feel burned out and quit their jobs.

I’ve been there. Law is what Harvard economist Cynthia Goldin calls a “greedy profession” - it’s a profession that demands time, energy and commitment at levels that inevitably impact a lawyer’s personal life. When that personal life involves responsibilities to children, lawyer moms are left in a precarious balancing act. I believe that systemic changes to the culture of the legal profession are needed to make the field truly accessible for working moms. I found my solution in entrepreneurship - by building my own firm from the ground up and creating 1) a culture that promotes healthy balance; 2) recognizes that work needs to be balanced with family life, and 3) employs systems and roles designed to prevent attorney burnout.

The data is clear that working mothers are suffering within the legal profession, and I think we can change that for ourselves and others. Other people will get to benefit from positive changes to the professional culture, too. (For example: my law firm offers a shortened work week and generous leave policy to all employees, not just moms!) At the moment, studies show that women are burning themselves out to make it all work - and as long as we are doing that, the profession will have no reason to change the existing culture. Some food for thought:

  • The default American work week is Monday-Friday 9am-5pm (though a 2018 study reported lawyers work an average of 50 hours per week)

  • The typical school day ends at 3pm

  • The average paid time off policy is roughly three weeks per year

  • School vacations average about 14 weeks off per year (combined summer, winter, and spring breaks), not including government holidays

As the default parents, it mostly falls to mothers to fill these gaps. It’s not fair, but it’s reality. That’s why I want to support other lawyer moms in reimagining legal jobs, creating women-led law firms, and changing the culture of legal jobs to make the field accessible for working moms.

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Sources: In Their Own Words: Experienced Women Lawyers Explain Why They Are Leaving Their Law Firms and The Profession, Joyce Sterling and Linda Chanow for the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession (2021); Pearson, Cynthia “New Report Confirms Most Working Parents Are Burned Out” The New York Times, 5 May 2022.

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