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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.
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.