Big Law firms tout amazing maternity benefits to attract talented female attorneys, but what happens when women actually get pregnant? Some attorneys have expressed positive experiences, and the law firms where they work have been rewarded by being placed on numerous Best Of lists. However, for attorneys at less family-friendly law firms, having a child is something that should be carefully navigated. These types of firms may say they provide parental leave, but attorneys who actually use the benefit come back to hostile environments and sometimes end up getting canned down the road. According to The Spiggle Law Firm , the number of pregnancy discrimination lawsuits has risen by 50% in the last 15 years, and this number isn’t wholly indicative of how prevalent discrimination towards pregnant women is because there are instances where women do not report or file litigation.
Unless you know which type of employer you’re working for, the following is a detailed guide on how to navigate pregnancy while working at a law firm.
When should women tell their law firms they’re pregnant?
When you discover that you’re pregnant, you’re probably calling everyone you know and already thinking of what kind of baby announcement you want to make—a funny post on Facebook, an email with gifs, or hours of phone calls. But while it may be fun to tell your friends and family, one group you probably don’t want to tell right away is the people at your law firm. After all, how will your boss react? Will you start getting iced out of assignments? Will your clients look at you as less competent? While men who are about to have a child don’t usually face these problems, women unfortunately do. Companies claim to have policies to combat sexism, but sometimes human nature can be an ugly beast.