CBA Record February_March 2016
YLS Special Issue l THE COMPLETE LAWYER
By Danya Shakfeh
O n the morning of June 12, 2012, I was on a hospital bed preparing for the birth of my son. A nurse handed me a contract, which I started to read thoroughly. I read a clause that allowed the hospital to take pictures of or film my medical procedure for teaching purposes. Heck no , I thought. “Miss,” I said, “is taking pictures and filming a common practice at this hospital? I just do not feel comfortable with that.” The nurse looked perplexed as I drew a line through the clause and initialed next to it. I wondered if I should ask someone from the hospital to also initial my amendment, or whether performance of the hospital’s services may be considered acceptance of my amendment.
sion, women make up 34% of the legal profession. Women also make up 44.8% of associates in private practice. No matter what work choice a woman lawyer makes when having children, chal- lenges result from all of them. Sometimes the decision is purely economic and relates to how a woman envisions her family life. Sometimes women choose to establish their careers before having children. I chose to open my own practice for reasons related to how I envisioned my family, and in part due to circumstance. One of the challenges in being a young lawyer with toddler-age children in my own practice is that it was hard to find other women in this situation. Some had either stopped working when they had children, or have older children.
“Honestly,” the nurse said, “I have never seen anyone taking pictures or filming here. I think the hospital included that just in case. Actually, I think you’re the first person to even read the contract.” And at 9:29 that evening, I officially became a Mom-at-Law. The Lowdown Many professions, including the legal field, seem to ignore that people have children and families. This is likely because law has traditionally been a male-dominated profession, and men are not typically the “default parent,” though fathers today contribute more to childrearing than pre- vious generations. However, as of 2014, according the American Bar Association’s Commission on Women in the Profes-
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