Some jobs are conducive to bringing your baby to work. … And some are not … including, historically, lawyering.
The ABA Journal (that’s the American Bar Association publication, for my non-legal friends) reports that a criminal defense lawyer in Texas brought her newborn to a trial after the judge denied her almost-late request for a continuance (legal speak for postponing the trial).
According to the lawyer’s own Facebook updates, her baby was “completely freaking out” & the “whole thing was out of hand.”
I don’t know, but I think it’s kind of bad-ass & awesome.
What’s missing from the story (& other articles covering the incident): why she requested the continuance & whether the presence of the infant interfered with the lawyer’s duty to her client.
If the infant calmed & was hanging out on mom, I don’t think there’s anything wrong having baby attend its first trial. The articles suggest this was not the case (the lawyer was almost charged with contempt… I would hope, but not necessarily expect, that something more than a momentarily crying newborn would be necessary to provoke contempt charges…) but we don’t know for sure.
The lawyer won, so maybe that’s a sign the infant didn’t distract mom from her duties to her client.
Also, we have no idea why she requested the continuance. Maybe she had no support network for child care. Maybe her child wouldn’t take a bottle. Maybe the trial was moved last minute by the court to a date in the middle of the lawyer’s maternity leave. If the reason she requested the delay was legitimate, then I’m doubly glad that she brought he baby with her.
But this story also highlights the difficulty of parenting & lawyering. Client duties often clash with family needs. Our duty to our clients is undeniable. But the inflexibility of those duties is not always inevitable.