Monday, April 6, 2020
Let's be honest for a minute--parenting is hard. So is being a lawyer. So is living through a pandemic. Add all those things together, and you have life as we now know it for many lawyers across the country. While most courts are being generous with granting extensions and hearing arguments remotely, briefs still need to be filed and cases still need to be argued. And, for many people, these tasks must be completed at home with extra helpers on hand--helpers who version of "help" might not be the same as the attorney heading up the office.
I read a draft motion a few weeks ago that asked for a time extension due to the fact that "the undersigned has two new full-time coworkers (ages 4 and 6) who need time to get up to speed on office procedures and workflow." I imagine that many lawyers can relate. On #appellatetwitter, I see attorneys discussing the difficulties they are having getting work done and homeschooling and supervising their young kids. Their days involve early mornings and late nights of work, with homeschooling and kid-wrangling in between. The same is true with law professors, who are still trying to deliver a quality legal education, albeit remotely.
Samantha Stokes of Law.com had a great story on this issue last week, entitled "Your Clients Need Attention. But So Do the Kids." In the story, several female lawyers recount the struggles with managing workload, competing schedules, and young children. While courts are generally being sympathetic and understanding, the stress of getting work done, of keeping the kids sane, of finding toilet paper, and if everything else that this pandemic brings has been hard.
While I don't have any great solutions (I write this post as my toddler naps), I hope that we can continue to show grace and understanding to those we interact with on a daily basis--whether that be opposing counsel, the court clerk, law students, or delivery drivers. I would like to think that we are all doing the best we can. Hang in there and #staysafe!