Pregnancy / Paternity

As many of our readers know, 2012 was the year of the Clifford Chance Mommy. If you’re unfamiliar with her tale, she wrote an epic departure memo that detailed a day in a harried mother’s life (e.g., waking up at 4 a.m. to start her day and going to sleep the next day at 1:30 a.m., only to do it all over again, ad infinitum). This woman made many people question their own sense of work/life balance, and led others to wonder if they could ever have a meaningful family life while working in Biglaw.

At some firms, you’ll have a fighting chance of achieving that goal.

The Yale Law Women are out with their annual list of the top ten family friendly firms. We cover this list every year (see our posts from 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and 2008). This year’s list has changed dramatically from last year’s: only half of the firms have returned, with five new firms joining them.

Which firms made the cut? Which firms had the best options available to both men and women? Let’s take a look at the latest ranking for the most family-friendly firms….

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Cynthia Wachenheim

Elie’s story earlier today about Cynthia Wachenheim, a Columbia Law School graduate and New York court attorney who took her own life and almost killed her infant son, has generated a lot of controversy. See, for example, the more than 100 comments on the original story.

Here at Above the Law, we believe in providing a wide range of viewpoints on different issues. Keep reading for a detailed and heartfelt message from a friend of Wachenheim who provides a counterpoint to Elie’s point of view….

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Strapped in this, the child survived his mother’s jump out an eighth-floor window.

I was hoping to avoid this story because it’s horrible and I didn’t want to deal with it. But it’s all over the news now and so we have to talk about it.

A lawyer, Cynthia Wachenheim, on leave from the Manhattan Supreme Court, jumped to her death from a Harlem apartment with her 10-month-old son strapped to her body in an Ergo baby carrier. The baby survived.

I know that society requires and expects me to use restraint or even show sympathy for suicide “victims.” But I just can’t muster the will to conform to social conventions in this case. This woman left behind a 13-page suicide note (of course a lawyer leaves a 13-page suicide note) explaining that she thought her baby had cerebral palsy based on internet research (doctors found nothing wrong with the child). When nobody believed her crazy rantings, her solution was to try to kill her own child — as if even an actual diagnosis of CP was worse than death.

Screw this woman….

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‘Can’t a kid have a five-minute feeding break without a partner email?’

I can’t actually make this stuff up. Yesterday, a Labor associate became an impromptu midwife. (Is there a term for a male in this role? Midhusband? I don’t know whether it was a man or a woman that should be credited with the assist on this one, and I’m assuming “midwife” is gender neutral for these purposes). The action took place inside a law firm’s office after a fellow attorney in the employee benefits practice started giving birth, presumably while redlining some rider for the umpteen-millionth time.

The mother, we hear, was due in the next week or so. According to our tipster, mom was hoping to maximize her hours before having to go on leave. Well, she succeeded.

Apparently, she needs to turn her talents toward renegotiating the firm’s employee benefits. A couple days off before having a baby might be a good place to start….

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Another day, another paternity suit for a basketball legend, and this time, it’s some regular old baby mama drama (not this delusional “LeBromination” business). Apparently Michael Jordan is the latest NBA star to fall prey to a scandalous request for a paternity test. Of course, this is nothing new for His Airness — he’s had to deal with several such allegations from women claiming they dribbled his balls.

But in this iteration of what would likely be the most-watched Maury Povich episode of all time, thanks to the wonders of the internet, we’ve got a teenager with a video message plea for more Twitter followers, and also for his alleged father to take a more active role in his life….

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Our victory today stands for the principle that “choice” goes both ways. Under Roe v. Wade and post-Roe cases, a teenage girl has the absolute legal right to choose life, even over the strong objections, pressure, and punishments of her parents.

Greg Terra of the Texas Center for the Defense of Life, commenting on his 16-year-old client’s recent victory against her parents, Denise and Jeffrey Koen, who attempted to force her to terminate her pregnancy.

Don’t sue her because she’s beautiful: Constance Jablonski (via Getty).

* Not a Victoria’s Secret angel’s fantasy: being sued for $3.3 million. [Fashionista]

* Should a widow be able to extract sperm from the body of her husband, who recently committed suicide, so she can have a child with him? Some thoughts from Professor Glenn Cohen of Harvard Law. [Bill of Health]

* Speaking of suicide, controversy over the prosecution of the late Aaron Swartz rages on. [How Appealing and Instapundit]

* Professor Ann Althouse isn’t a fan of the “if we can save one life” argument for gun control. [Althouse]

* I don’t know anything about football, but even I chuckled at this. [Life in Biglaw]

* ‘Tis the season… for replacing law school deans. Congratulations to Michael Hunter Schwartz, the new dean at Arkansas – Little Rock. [Faculty Lounge]

After the jump, Elie challenges Mike Bloomberg to make him skinny….

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* Wait, auditors agree that auditor letters are pretty much a waste of time, but they still want them anyway? As I learned in Civ: “The only thing that saves us from the bureaucracy is inefficiency.” [Going Concern]

* Yes, the legal world is still buzzing because one of the nine most powerful people in America deigned to utter a few words in court. I hope Justice Thomas appreciates that his obituary is going to prominently include references to his confirmation hearings and his well-documented muteness. [ZombieLaw]

* This Die Hard director picked a bad day to try hard to stay out of jail. [Hollwyood, Esq. / Hollywood Reporter]

* You know, there are laws against firing pregnant people. [Pregnant and Fired]

* Bottom line, I don’t want to be on the side of praising SEC enforcement actions. [National Law Journal]

* I hope Obama is well armed, because the only thing that stops a politician in the pocket of the gun lobby are the people holding their votes to the heads of their Congressmen. [Blog Briefing Room / The Hill]

* Same-sex marriage should be legal because gay people should be allowed to save money too. [The Atlantic]

It’s the last day of December, so it’s a good time to look back on the year that was. We’ll do what we’ve done for the past three years (wrap-up posts from 2009, 2010, and 2011 can be found here, here, and here) and identify the ten biggest stories of the past year as decided by you, our readers. With the help of Google Analytics, we’ve compiled a list of our top ten posts for 2012, based on traffic (as represented by pageviews).

By the way, for the third year in a row, the most popular category page on Above the Law was Law Schools. People have now been intensely focused on the declining value proposition of going to law school for as long as it takes to earn a Juris Doctor degree. Isn’t it time that we graduate from the current educational model?

The second and third most-popular categories on ATL in 2012 were Biglaw and Bonuses. Although this year brought us the largest law firm failure ever, nearly all other firms indiscriminately doled out offers to summer associates, and bonus season looked better for the first time in years. While the legal profession is still in transition, things are certainly looking up, and through the highs and the lows, we’ve been there to cover it all.

So what were the ten most popular individual posts at Above the Law in 2012? Let’s find out….

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The year is quickly drawing to a close, but we have unfinished business to conduct here at Above the Law. Come on, people, we still have to crown our Lawyer of the Year for 2012.

Thank you to everyone who responded to our call for nominations, in the comments or via email. We’ve narrowed down the nominees to a field of nine (although you’ll see only eight options in the poll because one is a joint nomination). As in past years, the contenders run the gamut from distinguished to despicable.

And the nominees are….

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