{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "I’m an associate at a small commercial lender focused firm…and I had an interview with the partner at a big law firm. He asked if I had any concerns about working in big law. I said I was worried about WLB as a mother of an 8 month old. He responded with the typical “I know plenty of female attorneys who put their kids to bed…they just work after their kids go to bed. There’s no reason to worry.” this just rubbed me the wrong way. Is this just me?? This just big law life?", "post_id": "617b48ffd50281002d7109a4", "reply_count": 16, "vote_count": 5, "bowl_id": "5da60c126e5f0d001f32f497", "bowl_name": "Women in Law" }

I’m an associate at a small commercial lender focused firm…and I had an interview with the partner at a big law firm. He asked if I had any concerns about working in big law. I said I was worried about WLB as a mother of an 8 month old. He responded with the typical “I know plenty of female attorneys who put their kids to bed…they just work after their kids go to bed. There’s no reason to worry.” this just rubbed me the wrong way. Is this just me?? This just big law life?

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Yes, that is big law. You can’t be a big law parent without working late into the wee hours. If this rubbed you wrong than big law is not for you. I’m not trying to be mean here, but it’s why I quit to go in house with better hours. There wasn’t a single parent that I worked with who didn’t log back online to bill a few more hours after bedtime every single weeknight, and lots of weekend nights.

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Being able to see your kid from 5-8 every day is having it good in big law. I know lots of attorneys who might not see their kid for days at a time. This was mainly pre-covid tho, so it was due to either traveling or because they left for work so early and got home so late too many days in a row. Lots of firms are pushing for associates to go back to the office, tho. One of my mentors told me how she barely remembers the first year of her second kid’s life because she was so busy that year.

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As a big law associate I get emails from working moms at all hours of the night. They definitely take their evenings with their family but then log back on to work more at 9/10pm. It’s not like this is expected and you can set your own boundaries, but you may have a harder time making partner that way

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That’s biglaw life in my experience. Most parents of young children log off from 5ish until 8ish and then work until quite late (at least in my experience).

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Quite late….I go to sleep at 9:30/10 pm. Not sure I’d be able to give late hours. My son gets up twice a night and it’s still ruining my sleep

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I would recommend asking to speak with some moms in the group you would be working in to get an idea of their WLB before accepting any job you are offered because I bet the culture around that varies

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Yep, that’s the big firm gig, and I think it sucks. I’m so sick of hearing “eating and sleeping are overrated” 🙄 But I can honestly say, in terms of hours, it was no different for me at small boutiques. My second born was 4 mo when I started at my first firm (small boutique) and I was still nursing. Male partner told me my first week “don’t worry, your kids won’t really get old that fast. They’ll be just as young when you get home tonight as they were when you left this morning. You won’t miss a thing.” 🙃

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Ughhh. I’m already having sleep issues from my 8 month old. 🥴🥴 male partners just don’t understand

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I think it will depend on how flexible the partners you will work for are with when and where you need to do work. If they just want it done by whatever the internal deadline is and they don’t care if you do it from the office or home, at 4pm or 4am, M-F or during the weekend, I think it’s doable. If you have a partner, are they able to support you in terms of doing pick up every day and then bed time at least 2-3 or so days a week? I try to work insanely late a few nights a week to get work done and then not do work on the weekends. Also will depend on your practice group. I’m commercial litigation, so when things are nuts, they’re nuts and you just have to do the work. Seems like from reading other posts for transactional, their hours are worse and never ending. Also, my daughter woke up at least one if not two times a night every night until she was like 11 months old. And, while she’s a good sleeper generally now, she’s had periods of time where she wakes up every night for a week or so. You just get used to never being fully rested (I hear until they leave the house… but then you worry that they are ok out there, so you lose sleep that way too).

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I guess I'm not sure what you're looking for as WLB? You can take any number of "big law" hours and divide them between your hours in a given day or week. That work has to get done one way or another, some parents choose to log back on, others choose weekends, others reduce their schedules . The flip side is does the office culture demand that things have to be done immediately, or do you have enough runway and flexibility to decide *when* the work gets done? Maybe the expectation is the work gets done within 24 hrs of request or maybe you'll get to manage your deadlines according to your schedule. I wouldn't say this is an immediate red flag until talking with moms and gauging whether the responsiveness expectations will work for you. I remember talking with a female associate who was *so grateful* to have family nearby in case of emergency, as opposed to my firm where you could leave during the day (so long as the work gets done). Workplace culture does matter

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