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When I first began my legal career at Jenner & Block, my impression of the supportive environment it provided to working parents was garnered from the outside looking in. I saw how my colleagues were able to take extended leave and create work schedules that fit their individual needs to balance being a lawyer and being a parent. A few years later, I got to experience this support first hand as my husband and I anticipated the birth of our daughter. When a complication during my pregnancy required reduced time in the office, I was easily able to transition to working part of the time from home with the full support of the firm. And after the arrival of our baby girl, Jenner’s generous leave policy enabled me to spend an extended period of time at home with our daughter, permitting me to decide for myself when I was ready to return to work. As I return to work, I do so knowing that I have the support of my colleagues – support that will enable me to find the balance I need to combine a successful legal career with quality time with my family. I feel very fortunate that I can embark on this journey with such a supportive team of colleagues.
Balancing work and personal life is something that you have to work at constantly as a lawyer. I knew going in that there might be some long nights, weekends, and travel. However, my colleagues at Jenner & Block make finding a balance between work and life possible. I have two small children with early bed times. As a result, I try to leave work around 5:30 p.m. every day to get home for dinner and bedtime. If necessary, I then log back on for another hour or so of work. In the three-plus years that I have been doing this, not a single person at Jenner & Block has told me anything other than how wonderful it is that I have this routine. Each of the lawyers I work with and for have families of their own; we all understand how important it is to be able to be around for our children. In that environment, it is easy to find a path to work life balance that fits your own routine.
Work-life balance is difficult to achieve for any lawyer, particularly for lawyers who, like me, have small children. But I can’t imagine a better law firm for a lawyer to achieve that balance than Jenner & Block. The firm has always supported me in my effort to be both a good lawyer and a good parent. I took parental leave when both of my children were born and had a reduced hourly budget as a result, and the firm supported me in that decision fully. These days, while my children are young, I need a certain amount of flexibility to juggle bedtimes, doctor’s appointments, and all the rest of the joys and responsibilities of parenthood, and I have always been able to make the time to be a fully involved parent. The firm stresses professionalism and efficiency and does not impose pressure on attorneys to physically sit in their office at particular times of day, so long as the attorneys are getting their work done and meeting our client’s expectations. I am grateful that Jenner & Block makes it possible for me to lead a life that is both professionally and personally satisfying.
I came to Jenner and Block in part because I wanted to work with a group of dynamic women who could serve as role models. From the moment I told my colleagues that I was expecting my first baby, I received nothing but encouragement to think creatively and with an open mind about what role my work would play in my new life as a mom. I received excellent advice and support in transitioning my workload in preparation for my maternity leave. When medical exigencies required that I work from home and eventually cease work long before I expected to, my colleagues at Jenner took on my remaining tasks without a hint of hesitation. With many sources of anxiety at the time, I really appreciated not having to worry a whit about whether the work would get done or how it would get done. Throughout my maternity leave, I have remained a part of the Jenner community as I prepare to return to work later this summer on a reduced hours schedule. And when I do, I look forward to joining a fantastic community of working moms from whom I have much more to learn.