Parents

I like to say that I went solo because I had no other options — but I chose to stay solo when I started a family.

I started my law firm at the end of 1993 because I’d been downsized for economic reasons and couldn’t find another job. Three years later, the economy picked up and job offers came my way — but I was newly pregnant, and the prospect of the 50-hour work week that one of my prospective employers described didn’t interest me at all. So I figured that at least for the time, I’d remain solo because I was certain that working for myself was the best option for raising children.

Fast forward seventeen years, and my conviction that solo practice is a family-friendly work option is no longer as black and white as it was back then before my daughter was born. That’s not to say that I regret my decision – because I don’t. But here, on the other side of child-rearing — with one daughter in high school and the other on the cusp of college — I’ve realized that there’s really no easy or perfect solution to balancing work and family — whether you’re a solo or a big-firm attorney. All you can do is evaluate the facts and make the best decision for yourself and your family based on the facts in front of you.

Of course, when it comes to research about work-life balance, that’s where things get tricky….

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Rachel Canning

My parents have rationalized their actions by blaming me for not following their rules. They stopped paying my high school tuition to punish the school and me and have redirected my college fund, indicating their refusal to afford me an education as a punishment.

Rachel Canning, the Catholic schoolgirl from New Jersey who’s suing her parents for her high school and college costs (plus her lawyer fees). Canning claims her parents abandoned her after she moved out of their home in October.

Good job, Mrs. Bynes. Well done.

– Judge Glen Reiser, praising the mother of Amanda Bynes for her work as temporary conservator of her daughter. The Judge was presumably complimenting her on her work keeping the younger Bynes out of the news, and not her work raising a daughter who “started a fire in a neighbor’s driveway and soaked her dog in gasoline.”

(A stock photo of a teen driver — not actually Ethan Couch.)

I’m sure that by now you’ve all heard the story about the wealthy white teenager who killed four people while drunk driving. As we mentioned in yesterday’s Non-Sequiturs, 16-year-old Ethan Couch got off — sentenced to therapy — because the judge agreed that the kid was a victim of “affluenza”: his parents gave him everything he wanted, and he believed that being rich meant that he wouldn’t have to face consequences for his actions.

The kid’s not wrong; the fact that he’s not facing incarceration for killing four people kind of proves the point. A poor white kid would be in jail right now. A rich black kid would be in jail right now. A poor black kid would be picking out items for his last supper right now. Anybody who thinks that this kind of lenience would be given to anybody other than a wealthy white dauphin is wrong and stupid (and probably racist). The rich kid isn’t in jail because rich people don’t suffer the full force of consequences for their actions.

That said… the judge isn’t wrong either. When you have a jerk-off prick of a 16-year-old, as this kid appears to be, it’s probably not his fault. Not really. My outrage isn’t that Couch is getting off, it’s that so many other teens and young people are being incarcerated without this kind of compassion.

Not that there aren’t people who deserve jail time behind this. It’s just that those people are Couch’s parents….

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Math is hard.

I’m somewhat reluctant to criticize other people’s bad financial decisions, having made so many atrociously dumb decisions in my own life. My financial stupidity isn’t even in the past tense — I have a brand-new PS4, but I’m waiting until the new year when my Flexible Spending Account resets to go to the doctor.

On the other hand, sometimes it takes an idiot to spot an idiot (I just made that up). At the very least, I’m somewhat uniquely qualified to identify which financial mistakes are “common” among the financially illiterate, versus the mistakes that take a special kind of dumb.

There are a few articles making the rounds today: there’s a Salon article trying to explain why law schools are comfortable scamming their students, and there’s a Forbes article making the stupid “now is a good time to go to law school” argument (which should make smart people roll their eyes). We’ve been down those roads before.

But we also have an article from a guy who says law school was the start of his financial downfall. He doesn’t blame law school, which is good, because I’m pretty sure he’s got nobody else to blame besides himself. And maybe his ex-wife….

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South Park metaphorically linked the 2004 election to a matchup between a turd sandwich and a giant douche. As bad as the Bush era had become, John Kerry came across as such a self-righteous tool it was hard to get swing voters psyched up to vote one way or the other. I think of this episode today as I approach the tale of two lawyers sniping at each other over Facebook about whether a woman deserves to have her parental rights terminated. It’s not that I think either is really wrong, as much as both of them exhibit the worst of their respective positions in their online feud.

So what did one entitled Biglaw lawyer say about a poor client, and what did a self-righteous public interest lawyer say in response? All bets final once you read past the jump….

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The kids here only look this happy because there are strippers off camera.

A mom reportedly hired strippers to show up at her 16-year-old’s birthday party, and she’s being charged with a crime. This is why we can’t have nice things. Shouldn’t kids learn how to objectify women in a controlled and safe environment with adult supervision, or do you really want them learning that stuff out on the street from Hannah Montana?

New York mom Judy H. Viger allegedly hired strippers to perform at the bowling alley where her son was having his party. The strippers allegedly performed lap dances. Viger was charged with child endangerment; her lawyer claims that she will cop to a plea. Child endangerment!

Like “I’m going to beat you with this switch” endangerment, only instead of a switch the kids got hit with fake stripper boobs….

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You gotta grow up sometime.

Quick question: when is your child no longer a “child,” so that you are not legally obligated to support the bugger when you are a non-custodial parent?

If you answered “over 18,” you might be wrong, depending on your state. Some states require you to pay child support for college expenses even after your kids are no longer minors. Sounds “enlightened,” doesn’t it? I’m sure it does if you are a university president who enjoys charging as much as possible for tuition. I’m telling you, birth control is the biggest bargain in the world.

A decision last week will take one state off the list of those with an extended definition of childhood. The decision can be looked at in a lot of ways: it’s a strike against the extended childhood of millennials, while at the same time registering as a shot to single parents trying to do their best for their children. And the decision is penned by a wackadoodle judge who probably thinks this will help Jesus in his eternal quest to keep people locked into loveless marriages.

It’s fun for the whole family…

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‘Get those hands away from my indentures!’

Having a kid presents challenges. You have to pick out a sensible and legally appropriate name for the child. You have to care for the kid — or pay someone else to do so. You have to keep your child safe, which isn’t always easy.

And these are just the basics. What if you want to enrich your kid’s existence with sports and after-school classes and musical instruments?

As it turns out, there’s an app for that — created by a lawyer, of course….

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* For everyone at the midway point of a bar exam: Here… [Dinmoney]

* Naked selfies: Not just for Carlos Danger anymore. A female police officer uses her workday to post naked pictures of herself. [Legal Juice]

* Speaking of NYC politics and placing Weiners where they don’t belong, Professor Lawrence Cunningham argues that Eliot Spitzer would be a horrible Comptroller based on his record as New York Attorney General. Cunningham then lists every reason Eliot Spitzer was an awesome Attorney General. [Concurring Opinions]

* An appeals court has upheld the ruling that killed Mayor Bloomberg’s large sugary soda ban. Drink up, fatasses! It’s your right as an American. In the meantime, check out this argument over whether the decision contains a curious paradox [PrawfsBlawg]

* The Sixth Circuit affirmed an earlier decision dismissing a suit brought by Cooley grads. But they did not repeat the classic, “an ordinary prudent person would not have relied on [Cooley's] statistics to decide to spend $100,000 or more.” [ABA Journal]

* After winning Survivor, Cochran has decided to turn his law degree into the most expensive TV screenwriting degree ever. He’ll be penning a sitcom this Fall. [St. Louis Today]

* Susan Westerberg Prager, the incoming dean of Southwestern Law School, is the first female dean of a law school… again. [Chronicle of Higher Education]

* One doctor. Four different signatures “under penalty of perjury.” I think we’re underestimating the evil quadruplet theory. [New York Personal Injury Attorney Blog]

* As someone without kids, I find this fascinating. Popehat has a poll asking readers their thoughts on monitoring the electronic communication of their middle schoolers. As a parent, are you more Edward Snowden or J. Edgar Hoover? [Popehat]

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