Weekend Open Thread:

DV by Dolce Vita Archer Something on your mind? Chat about it here.

Ok, ok, I’ll bite: I’ve seen these $69 sandals proclaims as “THE” sandal of the summer by various blogs — and having actually seen them on actual feet over the week, I have to say: they’re pretty hot. I think it’s the gold touches that make the sandal so awesome: the shiny bit beneath your toes, and the gold bar on your vamp… It doesn’t hurt that the sandals come in a ton of gorgeous colors, including basics (black, beige, gold), “fun” colors (snakeprints in teal, gold, and red) and “of the moment” colors (like neon pink and yellow, mint, and cobalt (pictured)). They’re $59-$69 at Zappos, and Endless has some colors as low as $44. DV by Dolce Vita – Archer (Bright Blue) – Footwear

(L-2)

Comments

  1. These sandals would be cute…if it was ever “summer” in Seattle. It’s been in the 50s all this week and rain predicted for the weekend- so depressing. Although it is sunny today…happy Friday!

  2. I just spent my lunch break surfing Sephora’s website and saw their new gelshine nail system. I admit, I’m intrigued. I like gel manicures for their long-lasting and non-smudging qualities, but can’t justify the unnecessary UV exposure. Sephora’s uses LED lights, which is a big plus for me. So I was wondering – has anyone bought (or is planning to buy) this system? If so, what do you think?

    • Anonymous :

      Sensationail gel system at CVS uses LED light and costs a third of the price.

      I’m in love with it – lasts just as long as salon gel nails, easy to apply and looks great.

      • Confessions :

        I just tried the salon effects (Sally Hansen brand) sticker like nail polish and it was super easy to apply and I loved the zero dry time!!! However, we’ll see how long it lasts. How much was the system at CVS? And does it come with the LED light, if not, where do you buy it? I like the Shellac manicures but I just cannot make it to the salon that often. Also, how do you remove the CVS gel nail polish?

        • I used the Sally Hansen nail stickers too, loved themmmm. Mine lasted about 2 weeks without a whole lot of chipping. I have heard better things about a different brand of nail stickers, Kiss I think? Bought them but haven’t tried them yet.

        • I’ve used Sensationail and really like it but it can be a pita to remove. You are supposed to use pure acetone. What works best for me is to wait as close to two weeks as I can (there are no chips but there is growth at the base of the nail) and then peel the gel polish off. One can also buff remnants off with a file.

          I’ve looked at the Sephora system online (but haven’t tried it) and like that system’s color selection better than Senstionail’s (though there are ways around color selection, including layering regular polish between 2 coats of clear gel). However, generally any polish that cures with LED can be used with the Sensationail LED light. I’m thinking of buying a Sephora polish to test out.

          • Be careful peeling that polish off – my nails became incredibly thin and brittle as a result of this. The polish takes off the top layer of your nail when you peel it off. I can’t use the gels because of my habit to peel and pick once they start to grow. I end up with nails the thickness of tissue paper.

    • Gel Question :

      I’m thinking of getting a gel manicure at a salon this weekend for the first time, but I don’t have time to regularly maintain it. I have a couple of questions for you experienced gel manicurees:
      (1) is salon gel polish harder to remove or can I peel it off as suggested by the commenter below?
      (2) will gel polish destroy my nails?

      • 1.). It IS harder to remove. I’ve done it myself (acetone on cotton, put on nail, wrap foil around for a few minutes, then push off with an orange wood stick.). Sometimes it is at least partially peelable. Usually have to finish off with filing a few places where it gets stuck. Seriously, this is why I usually end up going back to the salon, having them remove it and the get another gel manicure. I did take it off myself last time, filed my nails very short, and have been keeping them short with a very pale pink regular polish. (doesn’t show chips) I think I may stick with this approach for a while.

        2.). No. Don’t let the salon do a lot of filing or grinding on your nails to prepare them. It’s not necessary and over time that will make the nail weak.

  3. I have these sandals in the nude color and I love them! Cute and they go with everything. Warning – the soles are not padded. I would wear them all day.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      These are cute. You would wear yours all day, even though the soles are not padded? Are they still comfortable? Does the metal part get hot in the sun?

      • I kind of assumed that would was meant to be a wouldn’t.

      • One of the reasons I have to be so careful with flat sandals is that unpadded flat shoes kill my knees. These do have a sliver wedge and a good sole, so maybe they’d be okay?

      • Yes, typo! I wouldn’t wear them all day long. They are not snug so I had to get used to them moving around slightly but they are comfortable for a few hours. The metal didn’t get hot in the sun.

    • I’m so jealous of everybody wearing cute sandals and flats. At least for the near future, I’m stuck in sensible heels with arch support.

      • Always a NYer :

        Any recs for sensible heels with arch support? I have ridiculously high arches, like you can see my arch above the side of the shoe sometimes. Thanks!

        • I’d like the same recommendation. I’m wearing a pair of flats that shows my super, super high arch today.

          • WriterKate :

            Mostly lurk, but I love AGL and Anyi Lu for sensible heels with arch support that are also incredibly comfy. Not cheap though.

          • Thanks! I don’t mind pricey – I’d rather have fewer pairs of heels that won’t kill my feet.

    • Anyone else can’t wear thong sandals? I get blisters between toes immediately.

      • Marie Curie :

        Here! I mean, I haven’t recently tried again, but when I was younger my toes got rubbed up so badly I could hardly walk. Since then I’ve avoided all kinds of thong sandals.

      • I get little blisters for the first week or so of wearing flip-flops. Then my feet get used to them.

  4. Research, Not Law :

    Men’s professional clothing? My stay-at-home husband’s returning to the workforce and desperately needs to refresh his wardrobe. He won’t need a suit, but will need slacks, dress shirts, and ties. He’s stocky: large neck, short arms. We’ll be shopping with a baby and toddler in tow, so need to be efficient. Suggestions on where to go?

    • My husband bought an entire new wardrobe at Macy’s and is built much the same way. So — might be worth hitting them up. You can also check out JC Penneys for similar one stop shopping.

    • My husband is 17/32 in shirts and he likes Brooks Brothers no iron for button-downs, he’ll wear the outlet version but they tend to be 32/33 sleeves instead of 32. Costco’s Kirkland brand dress shirts fit him too and are much cheaper. He also find slacks and golf shirts at Stein-Mart and Dillards. Not sure where he gets ties but all of the above are likely places. If you happen to be in the South, Belks has some nice mens clothes.

      • Oh yeah, my husband also owns probably 5-10 Kirkland mens shirts. He’s fond of them.

        • Research, Not Law :

          Oooh, good to know. We need to make a costco run this weekend anyway.

          Thanks for the Macy’s rec, too. I hate Macy’s, but I could s*ck it up for him.

      • SAlit-a-gator :

        Second or third Costco for dress shirts. Their Kirkland brand is wrinkle free, $17.99 and comes in a variety of good patterns and solids. My husband swears by them! As for dress pants, if you live by an outlet I would ckeck out the Banana Republic men’s section or possibly Nordstrom Rack.

    • My bf wears a similar wardrobe to work, and he buys everything at Macy’s. If you have a good Macy’s nearby, their men’s department is huge and should have everything you need.

    • We recently took my husband to Nordstrom and used a personal shopper/stylist (a free service) which really helped us navigate the men’s department. As a mother of 4, I recommend getting a babysitter to leave the baby and toddler home. You’ll be much less stressed, get more done, and perhaps actually enjoy the time together. Trust me, I know what this means, I pumped in the Nordstrom ladies lounge while we were there. But shopping with those kids in tow is not a good idea for anyone.

      • Research, Not Law :

        Trust me, I’m not excited about it. But – and this is horrible – we don’t have a sitter! Not for short-notice on a weekend, anyway. We might be able to drop the toddler off, though, which would help substantially.

        Using a Nordstrom’s personal shopper just occurred to me, too. It might be perfect.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Nordie’s Men’s Half Yearly Sale started today. Call ahead to speak with a personal shopper (free!), tell the shopper your husband’s sizes and needs and budget, and they will have a dressing room ready for you with all of their ideas when you get there.

    • Anonsensical :

      Nordstrom is running their big men’s sale right now, and I’ve been really happy with them lately. Great customer service, free shipping and free returns, and easy price adjustments. My husband loves the non-iron shirts from Banana Republic (unlike some “non-iron” shirts, they really don’t need to be ironed!). They’re expensive, but we grab them when BR runs a 30% or 40% off promo. And for dress pants, well, Kohl’s has surprisingly decent ones that are washable. Also, I know you said he doesn’t need suits, but Macy’s often has killer deals on them if he wants some.

    • Kontraktor :

      I like the outlet malls for things like this. We always go there when my husband needs a few clothes at once. We like to go to the Brooks Brothers, Banana, J Crew, and Kenneth Cole outlet/factory stores. Lots of good deals and prices. But, if your husband doesn’t really know what he wants and you just want to go to one place, I think Macy’s is a good bet. Lots of different options and price points. I think they are having a large sale this weekend too.

    • Cole haan for shoes- my significant other got some nice loafers from nordstrom at a good discount.

    • lawsuited :

      Consider Land’s End – they do nice business casual clothing for men and have a huge range of sizes. You can be super-efficient by buying a range of sizes online (no need to drag your baby and toddler anywhere!) and returning whatever doesn’t fit. Their return policy is extremely good, and they are having a 30-50% off sale right now.

  5. Sydney Bristow :

    Does anyone volunteer for Dress for Success or the ASPCA? I’ve sent my information to both organizations and the ASPCA lets you say how many hours a month you can volunteer, but I didn’t see any information like that for Dress for Success. I’m interested in helping with special events and fundraisers for Dress for Success and admin, cat habitat, and dog habitat work with the ASPCA. Is there anything I should know about volunteering with either one?

    • I volunteered for the SPCA for three years. I walked dogs and socialized cats, so I’m not sure exactly what you have in mind with habitat stuff, but I loved it! Go you!

      • Sydney Bristow :

        That’s what I meant by the habitat stuff. I think that is how they referred to it on the application. Did you go in for normal shifts that were scheduled in advance or was it something you could just drop in for? I’m a little concerned about my schedule being less flexible than it is right now and not sure what to expect.

    • I am on the board of a Dress for Success affiliate. We utilize our volunteers for everything from suitings to fundraising and special events. I am pretty sure most DFS locations operate in the same manner. If you are referring to DFS worldwide (NYC), I do know that they are much more particular than we are. I love working with DFS and I hope you will too!

      • Sydney Bristow :

        Thanks Latina. I am talking about DFS worldwide and they have different contacts for different volunteer opportunities. I’m glad to hear you love working with them! I hope it works out as well for me!

  6. Diana Barry :

    Hey hive,

    Just got word that a friend of mine is in the hospital on bedrest for preeclampsia. What should I bring her? Would a bunch of trashy books (hunger games etc) for her to borrow from me be too down-market? DVDs or itunes???

    • kerrycontrary :

      I think books and a dvd would be really nice. I’m sure she would also appreciate someone just spending time with her so she’s not bored out of her mind or staring at her significant other all the time. Assuming she’s not in the hospital you could also volunteer to clean up around her house, make some meals that can be frozen, or watch her children (if she has other children).

    • Books are great, dvds (as long as she has a laptop or mobile dvd player that can play them) are probably better — for me, when I’m in the hospital, I have trouble focusing on reading. But, magazines are great — friends brought me everything from Lucky to Cosmo to Time to the Economist and all were appreciated.

      Other ideas — comfy neck pillows, a nice blanket or robe, maybe slippers. Also, visitors are great. I’m assuming she’s not on significant pain meds or anything (being pregnant and all) so I’m sure she’s getting really sick of tv. :-P

    • Sydney Bristow :

      One of the commenters here did a post recently about what to bring someone who is in the hospital. She had some good ideas that I hadn’t thought of before. http://www.allthosedetails.com/hospital-stay-gift-bag/

    • If she does not have an iPad and you do, a loan of the iPad would be ideal. And a NetFlix subscription she could use on it (her own, or access to yours, or a one-month free trial).

      I had a friend on extended bed rest, and I would stop by every couple weeks with a new haul of “things to keep her company” — one week, I did a bunch of magazines ranging from trashy to intellectual, the next time I took a whole backpack of my favorite books, the third time I brought my entire DVD collection … I think she appreciated the diversions. As long as you’re just taking things out of your own house so it’s not costing you anything, the more variety the better I say.

    • Francie Nolan :

      What about a learning to Knit Kit, with yarn, needles, a book, and a blanket pattern.

    • When I was on bedrest, a visitor was the most exciting thing I got. If you can spare some time, just hang out with her.

    • Some good food, a visit if you are able and some movies. My sister had a baby last week and her room had a DVD player, so maybe that is an option.

    • anon prof :

      I had to do this for a few weeks for the same reason. It’s tough because you have to lie on your left side, so it’s hard to read. An ipad or like is great because the screen changes orientation. But the things I was most desperate for was for someone to clean my house, take care of my older child and spouse, and someone to talk to. It’s really rough.

    • She won’t be in pain or feeling really ill, so entertainment will be key. Her diet is likely to be controlled, so no food treats (except for the nurses, so they like her better :-)). If you’re close enough to know what she likes (reading, craft, music..) great, if not go for quantity, as lots will be required.

  7. Seeking advice re informational interviews: I’m a BigLaw 8th-year associate in NYC in a specialty practice. After having a baby a year ago my husband and I are ready to leave the city and are targeting a decent-sized city farther west. I am flying out for a Tuesday callback and my recruiter has set up three informational interviews with other firms for Monday — coffee, a lunch and then a meeting at the third firm. I’ve never done these “informational interviews” and could use some advice — Do I come with lots of questions about the firm? About the practice? About the legal scene in the new city? How much do I try to sell myself? What are some good questions and/or tactics? I’m used to only interviewing for open positions so am a little lost. Thanks!

    • You’ll probably be pretty prepared to sell yourself since you are in interview mode. I would do some research on these other firms and figure out what you want to know about them (remember, information flows both ways). They may not have an open position that they are actively recruiting, but they may be open to identifying future fits and scoping new talent and don’t want to get a deluge of resumes/set up a search right this moment. If they were totally against it, they wouldn’t have set something up with your recruiter. Plus, they get to interview you at no cost to them. I would just get to know each other so to speak and go from there.

    • A Litigator. :

      Ugh, started typing and lost it. I’ll try again, but it’ll be shorter… In any event, I’ve done lots of these lately from the other side (upper level associate already in a decent-sized, by my estimation, city). Please (please!) ask lots of questions about the legal community, other firms, and practicing in general in that city. And please be an active participant in the conversation. I have done one of those, in particular, lately where the person did not ask a single follow up or try to engage me at all, which rubbed me the wrong way. Also, I don’t know exactly what you mean by “decent sized,” but please know that unlike NYC, most of the the rest of the country does not actively recruit someone with your level of experience unless they have a niche practice (which it sounds like you do) or they have some book of business. It might not be fair, and I’m not trying to be harsh, but it’s true. As an 8th year, even if they dock you a year or two for being a lateral, you’re still really expensive to come in and just work other people’s cases.

      • Not harsh at all, I totally get it. Luckily I do have a pretty specialized practice so I think that’s why some firms are interested, but I am aware that I am pretty senior at this point and therefore expensive. Thanks for the advice!

        • A Litigator. :

          A little more specific, one question that another person asked, that I liked, was: Who else should I contact/meet? The person on the ground may know of other people who are hiring or just others in the community to whom you should reach out.

          • This, definitely. Plus:
            Are there local bar associations focused on this practice area or other specialty-practice specific groups in the area?

    • ChocCityB&R :

      I wish I had asked this question a week ago, it would have been helpful. Replying to subscribe to the answers.

    • Richard Bolles’ “What Color Is Your Parachute?” has a great, detailed section on informational interviewing, complete with a suggested general approach and lots of suggested questions to ask. If you don’t have a copy, maybe check your local library (or buy it on Kindle)? You don’t have to have the most updated edition; his section on informational interviewing is carried over between editions without much change that I can see.

  8. I assume some people read the WSJ article Kat posted earlier – I can’t believe Marisa Mayer works 90 hours a week. Fits in well with the discussion from this morning. Americans place too much emphasis on quatity of work and not enough on quality of life…

    Just stating my shock. If that is what it takes to be successful in the private sector, I am not interested.

    • Word. I’m wondering if the tide will turn once the boomers retire and the younger generations are in more leadership positions. I am interested in leadership roles and think I’d be good at them, but at 31, my mindset is shifting to no way, no how, not worth it, if it means following the current norms for getting there. Better to stay in my specialized role and be happy than rise to the top and not have a life.

    • This happened in marketing a long time ago, and finally seemed to curtail a little bit. Basically, it was a race to the bottom: Who could drop their price the lowest? Who could stay open the longest? Since customers didn’t actually need these features, or the companies couldn’t make a profit, they returned to normal pricing and “normal” hours (except for like, 24-hour fast food or Wal-Marts). Hopefully the same will happen with jobs. We really don’t need people working 70-100 hours a week, and the pay to sell your soul like that will eventually make it so that companies can’t pay THAT many people to do it. Then you’ll end up with just the 1%, like Kontraktor mentioned, and the rest of us can have better hours at reasonable pay. HOPEFULLY that will happen anyways, but my generation is definitely not up for being chained to a desk until we’re 65-70, and we’re definitely more about product than face-time. If I finish my work in less than 8 hours a day, I should be allowed to go home. Or, complete all my work for the week in 40 hours in 4 days, then I get a 3-day weekend. Either way, the old manufacturing-style scheduling is pretty silly in jobs that don’t require you to be in the office to be productive.

    • If working 90 hours a week was all it took to be as wildly successful as Marissa Mayer, I’d do it in a heartbeat and retire at 40.

    • ChocCityB&R :

      100% agree and can’t help but feel lazy because of it. I’m not sure if this is an American thing, or a first generation college person thing, or just a general type A over achiever thing, but lately my desire to “work hard” has been sorely lacking, and my desire to live well has taken over. And when I read articles like this, or spend time with my Biglaw friends, I feel like the laziest bum who ever lived. But maybe that’s my hang up to get over, and I should start waiting on the world to change…

    • I was mulling this issue over this afternoon myself. There has to be more to life than just sacrificing your entire life to your job, right? Otherwise, what’s the point?

      Of course, I feel lazy and like I am doomed never to make anything of myself if I don’t adjust my attitude. Perhaps I am feeling especially fatalistic today.

      • More to the point with regard to Marissa Mayer, I know myself well enough to know that a week off every six months would not be enough for me to sustain that kind of pace (and, as she says, remain civil to her co-workers). I often find I become ill when I try to ramp things up too much. So, maybe some of us just aren’t cut out for the high-achiever lifestyle. Kanye shrug?

        • Kanye shrug for sure. I also have found that, the higher up in “management” you go, the less time you actually do doing your job. The more time you spend in meetings. The managing partner of my old firm barely practiced law anymore.

          I think this is one of those things that sort of comes with the new-wave feminism as well. When my mom’s generation was coming through the ranks, they thought absolutely they could have it all. They’d work and take over the world and have families and make it work. And as she told me, a lot of them hit a wall. I think as the daughter of that experience, I feel like I need to at least think about balance early on. Both for my physical and mental health. And I think a lot of people my age think so too.

          Its a rare breed that can carry on 90 hour work weeks for extensive periods. They tend to be surgical residents/attendings, CEOs/CFOs/COOs, or managing partners/high earning partners at big firms. I’ve made peace with the fact that I’m not likely to be any of those. And I think I’m okay with that.

          • I did it for 5 years as a resident. It was extremely hard on my marriage and my mental health (not to mention I wasn’t making much money, so was less able to outsource some things). For me, the pay off of 5 years was worth it — I now do a job I love, work 4 days a week, make way more than then average American and feel really grateful. I couldn’t have done it unless there was a firm, fixed, bright light at the end of the tunnel.

          • This!

          • I was seconding TCFKAG, not EC MD, here :)

    • PTOOEY!

    • I’d be interested to hear more from others who’ve done this kind of load before (thank you EC MD). What motivates you ? How do you make it work ?

      For myself and my contemporaries who work at this pace, the primary motivation is usually a sense of achievement rather than money. It’s worked for me because my husband is in a related area – his support and interest are a big source of energy for me, and more practically, we often mix client and social stuff to spend time together.

  9. Idea for a question for the hive: Please share your best/favorite/most amazing trick related to fashion, clothes, shopping, etc. I’ll share mine which I used this morning: To remove deodorant marks from clothing use a balled up pair of panty hose. Just wipe the marks with the hose. The fabric does wonders, easily and quickly removing pesky white marks.

    What’s your trick?

    • Research, Not Law :

      I store sheet sets folded and put inside one pillowcase. That way they are all together when I need them and are easier to stack neatly.

      • Every time I read about storing sheet sets, I marvel at the fact that people own more than one set per bed. We have 2 bedrooms and each bed has one set of sheets – remove, wash, remake bed. No storage. Maybe I am not nearly as grown up as I thought I was….

        • I’m the same way. I have 2 sets for the master bedroom only because I was gifted a nice set and couldn’t bear the thought of it sitting on a shelf for years. But really, it was just fine when I had only one.

        • I don’t have time to do laundry on weekdays, and our laundry room closes at 10pm. If I only had one set, I’d be screwed whenever the cat decides to puke on the bed, shark week begins unexpectedly, I fall asleep with lipstick on, etc.

          • This. We send laundry out and so having just one set would be impossible.
            And I do the same thing with my sheets.

            For deodorant stains, rubbing the fabric against itself also works.

          • Oh, and baby wipes remove deodorant stains like a charm. It’s magic.

        • Anoneymouse :

          I have two -but one’s flannel, fantastic for my freezing cold feet in winter.

        • I have two and swap them when I change the bed. Honestly, it’s so hard to find the color of sheets that I like in my bedroom (periwinkle) that I always buy two when I find them.

        • Research, Not Law :

          We have four sets for our bed (two sateen, two flannel), two sets for toddler bed, and two sheets for crib. We also have a set for the futon for guests and a set for the camper. Even without the spares, we’d still be storing those most of the time. We’d also have the out-of-season sheets to store.

          I used to think having spare sheets was frivolous, too, but it’s simply easier with two kids. It’s easy to have them occupied long enough to strip and remake the bed. But getting the chance to strip, process them through laundry, and then remake – in order! – in the same day takes dedication, focus, and good deal of luck. Nothing’s more sad than working a full day, getting dinner on the table while simultaneously having some degree of quality time with everyone, putting the kids to bed, doing the dishes and prepping the next day, only to finally be able to crawl into bed… and realizing your sheets are still in the washer and you can’t run the dryer without waking the kids. And then there’s the nights when one kid wets the bed or mornings the baby has a poo explosion on your bed 5 minutes before you all have to be out the door.

          LOL, so yeah, I suppose it is a measure of grown-up-ness ;)

          • Anoneymouse :

            Oh absolutely. My friends have just started having kids, and I’m constantly struck by how DIRTY the little darlings are! When I babysit, I end up changing their clothes at least once, and I usually go straight home and take a shower. How did people keep babies even remotely clean before washing machines??

          • Research, Not Law :

            Oh my gosh, so true. I wonder that, too! There was a period of time with baby#2 was a newborn when we were literally creating dirty laundry faster than we could wash it.

        • Marie Curie :

          I have about a million sheet sets, none of which I bought myself. (Got them from my mother and grandmother when they moved out and didn’t need them. Apparently my family likes buying sheet sets because I bet there are several that have never been used.) I like being able to rotate and having back-up in case I get some stains on the ones currently in use. My boyfriend, then again, only has one.

        • I have a favorite sheet set. I’d love to use them all the time, but I don’t want them to wear out (elastic)! So we rotate so the “good” set lasts.

        • Sometimes you have unexpected guests, and no time to do the laundry in front of them. Two sets at least.

    • Newspaper for wiping down greasy kitchen surfaces. I discovered this a few weeks ago when my hubby made one of his rare incursions into the kitchen, left frying oil splattered all over but then cleaned up after himself with this neat trick learnt from his mechanic.

    • If your shoes get wet….stuff them full of newspaper and leave overnight. They will be completely dry in the morning.

      This works especially well for running shoes which would otherwise take forever to drive.

    • Merabella :

      This isn’t clothing related… But I was so excited when I found this out. You can make bacon in the oven. You put it in a cold oven, turn the heat up to 400 degrees and set a timer for 12-20 minutes depending on the amount and presto perfectly crispy bacon. This has saved me on Sunday mornings when I’m making pancakes – the bacon is finished almost exactly when I am finished flipping all the pancakes. I am sad I didn’t know about this years ago.

  10. Looking for a new work bag in the range of $150-250. Suggestions? I’m having trouble finding something I am excited about. Thanks!

  11. Does anyone have recommendations for cleaning cloths for the kitchen? I’ve bought several different types, but all of them seem to lack any absorbency and just mush liquid around rather than lifting it up. I don’t currently have any old clothes to turn into rags.

    • You could try buying a package of micro cloths. I have tons of them for dusting, washing the car, whatever. I can imagine they’d be good for the kitchen, too.

      • What brands have worked for you? I have some that are terrible.

        • They are ProForce from Sam’s. I think the first pack I had were better, but these are fine. I didn’t buy them. My SO loves to shop at Sam’s.

        • @zora – how’s work going? Any better?

          • oops. don’t know how that ended up here.

          • omg, NOLA you are the sweetest ever!! ive been so busy but ive been wanting to post all week just to thank you for all of your sympathy and advice last week, and then this!? wow, it is so nice to have an internet stranger looking out for me, i can’t even tell you how much I appreciate it.

            And things have still been completely crazy and i am still really stressed, thus the barely having time to visit the C-r e t t e, but everyone’s advice last week did help a little. And I have been sleeping better this week, so that has helped lessen the panic a little bit. But just thinking through my panic and thinking about what was going on in answer to some of your questions have helped me step away from it a little. And I think I am giving myself a little bit of a break, like you suggested…. Not a lot of one, b/c I am a crazy perfectionist, but a little bit of one…

            so, I’m getting thru the week, but I am trying to get more focused on finding another job so I can get out of here. So, thank you again NOLA, and everyone else who replied to me last week, and basically the whole hive for letting me vent here, and taking time to make me feel better. You are incredible.

          • It sounds like you’ve made a lot of progress! Sleeping is a great step. It’s also good to have an active personal life so you can completely get your head out of work when you come home. I was worried about you and hadn’t seen you post much recently, so I’m glad to hear from you.

    • Look in the auto section at Target or Costco – they have great ones that hold up!

    • Anon 3L - GRADUATED! :

      Are you using fabric softener when you wash them? If so, this might be the problem. Try washing the towels with detergent and a small cup of vinegar and see if the towels work better.

      • I’ve never used fabric softner in my life, but I use a shared washer in my building so I wonder if there is buildup. I’ll try the vinegar next time, maybe it’ll help.

        Thanks everyone!

        • Flylady! Don’t own any so perhaps I’ve been swayed by the hype, but based on her idea I switched to microfibre which works way better IMHO.
          Also, I soak mine overnight in detergent before the standard wash.
          Hope that helps!

  12. you all know who I am anyway :

    Sending out the ‘R e t t e bat-symbol:

    I work at a small law firm (approximate a dozen attys, me + another female associate + female partner, all others male). I’ve been here six months. Female associate (I’ll call her “Nina”) is just over 5 months pregnant, we’ve all known she was pregnant since about 12 weeks, and everybody has said nothing but “congratulations!”.
    Yesterday at lunch several blocks from my office I see Nina in her car crying – not in the work parking lot. Today, turns out the story is that she met with managing partner, other partner and female partner to present her plan for when she is out on maternity leave/in case something happens and she leaves earlier, the managing partner, in this perfectly friendly tone, but like he’s surprised she would even ask, says “we don’t offer maternity leave. You have 13 days of leave right now, so by the time you give birth you should have just over three weeks saved up.” Nina is in shock, other partners totally back her up, she says something about not physically being able to return to work, disability leave, and partners say “We don’t offer disability leave to anyone, so we’re not offering it to you.” Basically the meeting ends with them saying, we’re so happy you’re having a baby, we’ll fire you if you’re out more than three weeks. There was implication that there are plenty of people looking for work who will not take two months off. State law seems to support proposition that so long as small employer treats everyone the same, including giving disability leave to no one, than they are not required to provide disability leave for pregnancy, either.

    I’m sort of in shock. This firm has always seemed very family-friendly, and while the lesson here would be to negotiate for maternity leave before accepting a position, we can’t unspill that milk. I have no idea how Nina is at her desk today (except that God forbid she’s going to take a day off).
    And second, I’m 6 weeks pregnant. And nobody at work knows.

    • Holy crap on a cracker! What are you going to do?

    • In order, my thoughts are:

      1) That s*cks, and I’m sorry (for Nina and for you).

      2) Start looking for a new job.

      3) I hope this doesn’t make me a terrible person, but did she just assume that she was going to get maternity leave/disability leave? If that wasn’t explicitly in the benefits package (which, again, s*cks), then I’m not sure why she expected it? My understanding has always been that if your workplace isn’t covered by FMLA, then your employer can give you as much or as little maternity leave as it wants to, which can include zero.

      • This was my first thought. It is so, so naive to go into a meeting to discuss matenity leave without knowing what the maternity leave is. Its so naive that it makes me wonder if there isn’t more to the story. Like let’s say you did have maternity leave, 8 weeks. Like she going to walk in and start talking about being out for 11 weeks? I don’t understand having that big of a disconnect to not ask about the maternity leave, before discussing your plans for maternity.

        but second, that’s awful. I kind of think the other partners might try to talk him about of it. because its so bad, and allow her to have unpaid leave

        • Its a bit naive. But its also a total DOOSH move on the part of the firm. I don’t understand why they won’t even work with her on unpaid leave, unless they really don’t value her at all as an employee.

          • Word. Unpaid leave + contract helpers = problem solved. Sounds to me like they don’t care.

        • It may be naive, but a lot of things that shouldn’t be secret are secret in SmallLaw. So it’s understandable.

          • Im finding the meeting part naive, not as much the not knowing the policy. The calling a meeting about maternity leave, and then finding out about the no maternity leave, is what is so weird to me.

          • But a lot of small firms don’t even have policies. It’s all laissez faire.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        Some places, particularly small firms have this front that “you will get whatever you need, we have no formal policies” procedure where someone might not demand to know maternity leave in writing. My firm gives me 4 weeks vaca and sick whenever I’m sick but I never asked about maternity. I know we don’t have short term disability but we do have long term. Not sure if maternity would fall under “sick” since those are essentially unlimited, again “so long as not abused” aka, at the employer’s discretion.

        We are finally creating a staff policy manual for leave (for assistants and paras) and I’m going to suggest they include a maternity leave provision in it. Then I’ll at least get an idea where there head is if I ever need it.

        • I agree with both Anon and Blonde Lawyer. Yes, she should have known that a company that small doesn’t need to comply with FMLA and negotiated for maternity leave, BUT… I don’t know if it would have crossed my mind to negotiate for it because I would have just assumed ‘of course I can take maternity leave!’, especially if a small firm holds itself out as a really flexible place to work.

      • I don’t think she (or myself) assumed we were getting 12 weeks of paid leave like BigLaw, but she went in with the plan of requesting 6-8 weeks unpaid leave, assuming everything went right.

        I think maybe part of this is working for a small firm, in a very small city, that doesn’t have a separate HR department. But also, when I interviewed with this firm a year ago, I had no plans to get pregnant any time soon and it just didn’t occur to me to negotiate for maternity leave years before I might need it. (Life changed in a big way in the interim.) That’s it. It just didn’t occur to me. Like how the importance of health insurance did register in my brain in college, but now we pick jobs based on health insurance.
        And it was apparent that the firm was family-friendly in other ways, and since the female partner joined this firm from another past her child-bearing years, and so Nina is basically the first pregnancy the firm’s had in the past decade.

        • Yeah, I did the same thing. Joined a small “family friendly” firm as a single girl with no family plans in mind, never even once thinking about maternity leave. 2 years in, find myself married and unexpectedly pregnant, and was in the awkward position of walking into the partner’s office and asking what kind of maternity policy they planned to make up on the spot. In retrospect, yes, naive. At the time, I had no option. Partners need to know, though, that when they’re making up their new “policy” on the spot, other employees are watching. Morale matters. (Not that law partners usually have much sense about HR matters…)

          • When I interviewed at the firm I am with now, there was an associate who was ~6 months pregnant. She was the first pregnant attorney the firm had ever had (it’s only been around ~10 years). So, the partners were at a loss as to what to do. They knew that secured leave in our state is only 3 weeks, but obviously, that’s not acceptable. The staff goes out on Short Term Disability, and they get 8 weeks of having their job held open for them. But, they didn’t know what to do with attorneys, who still have active case loads, etc. They ended up offering her a flex leave option, and she came back after 12 weeks.

            So, the partners I was interviewing with used this as a way to tell me 1) The other attorney has already been the guinea pig for maternity leave and 2) We really are going to work something out that’s fair for everyone, even if it’s a new thing for us.

            So yes, the other people in the firm are watching, and it does make a difference.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Wow, won’t she have to wind up taking some of her leave way before the baby comes for doctor appointments and stuff like that?

      I don’t have any advice for you, but I’m so sorry you are going to have to deal with the same thing.

    • Research, Not Law :

      Wow. Seriously??? I’m sorry for you and Nina. That’s incredible. I have no words other than its despicable. Or naive? I don’t even know how they could reasonably expect someone with a 3-wk old to come back to work.

    • Equity's Darling :

      My jaw is open with shock. And I feel super bad for you.

      The US really needs to reform their parental leave system.

    • That is awful. I think I’d be looking for new work, immediately.

    • Two cents :

      This is insane. I’m sorry that you and Nina have to work for a firm that evidently has policies that are in the dark ages. Yes, I know that no firm is obligated to give you maternity leave (which is also ridiculous) but 13 days??? I mean, come on. I don’t have kids yet but even I know that there is no way that someone can possibly come back to work 2 weeks after giving birth and attempt to be productive.

      Can she have a talk with one of the more sympathetic partners and see if anything can be done? What about the option of taking leave even if unpaid, with the security of having a job when she returns? I also echo other comments that you need to look for another job. Posts like this make me feel sad that I live in the US sometimes!!

    • I think it would be actually impossible to go back to work two weeks after having a baby. Like, physically impossible. I can’t believe that there are no anti-discrimination laws that cover not firing someone for being physically unable to work, but I’ll take your word for it.

      My gut reaction is that you and Nina need to find new jobs, stat.

      Beyond that, it seems like the partner has no f-ing clue what giving birth entails and is a sexist old b-stard. I think you and Nina should go to the woman partner and speak to her. Assuming she has kids, she’ll understand the predicament right away; even if she doesn’t, she probably doesn’t want to lose all of the women associates. Hopefully she’ll have a come to Jesus with the partner who wants to fire you. If not, then my gut reaction advice goes double.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        You wouldn’t believe the discrimination places can get away with if they don’t fall under the definition of “employer” by state or federal standards. It is defined by number of employees and lots of places deliberately stay one employee below the cut off for just that reason.

        • I seriously did a little happy dance when my firm decided to hire a second paralegal, putting us under the umbrella of at least the state and city discrimination laws. Still no FMLA or Title VII, but I’ll take what I can get.

      • Word. I’m with E.

    • So rereading it again, it sounds like Nina totally sprung this meeting on them right? like I said I do think its crazy to call a meeting, start discussing something that you should not assume you have. So I actually think the partner, who is a doosh, just said how he felt. From a public relations/liability standpoint, I think all the partners will convice him to offer unpaid leave for 8 weeks. its awful but I think there is a chance it will work out.

      in the meantime, yes id start looking for another job stat, or get nina in your corner and start researching lawsuit stuff. Cuz the partner is saying that people would not get to come back if they got cancer, a bad car accident, etc and I got to believe everyone is feeling that it is awful

      • I want to clarify – she definitely did not spring this meeting on them. When the general pregnancy announcement was made a few months ago, it was stated openly that she’d meet with them when it became closer and projects were more materialized to handle delegation, etc. This was definitely a planned, on the calendar, Wednesday at 10AM meeting.

        So it’s more like they researched and covered their bases? Maybe I’m just feeling the shock and anger as well right now.

        Also, Blonde Lawyer above is right – being a small employer exempts you from 99% of the discrimination laws.

    • anon here :

      My small office is currently pulling something similar for a pregnant coworker. It didn’t help that she was an inefficient worker pre-pregnancy and so even before her pregnancy, people were not inclined to be generous with her and there were already rumblings in senior management of “why was this person hired?” She negotiated mat leave before she started (firm did not have a mat leave policy in place) and it was reasonably generous.

      Now she is pregnant and had some issues re: pain. She took several days/half days off for appointments and senior management told her she would need to go on short term disability if she was going to take so many days. She has not been into work (told she should not come back) but her doctor is hesitating on signing off on disability so the firm has decided if the doc doesn’t sign off, they will stop paying her as she has used all her vacation days thus far so cannot take more time off without financial penalty (she is the sole earner – her husband is unemployed). Additionally, she will not be able to use these vacation days for mat leave (since she has used them in pregnancy) so the negotiated mat leave will be 4 weeks of disability at 1/2 pay, rather than 8 weeks of vacation + disability at full pay.

      …sucks. I echo the suggestions to look for a new job, if you are able.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        The firm or the doctor said don’t come back to work? If the firm, sounds like they are trying to get out of their contract w/ her which might give her a cause of action even if they are small.

        • anon here :

          Firm said you’re missing too much work, you can’t come back (I have no idea if she had the days or was just taking days and hoping no one was keeping track, though) — I agree she may have a case but don’t know if she will pursue it. The whole thing makes me glad I will be out of here by the time I’m ready for kids.

          Granted, I don’t think they would be acting this way if she had been a valued employee pre-pregnancy. But it’s still incredibly DOOSHY and I don’t like watching it happen.

      • Anonymous :

        I hate to be blunt, and this part is not helpful to you now (but may be for others who are not yet pregnant) but you and Nina should have come to a clear understanding as to maternity leave before trying to get pregnant (if you were trying). As others have pointed out, you can never assume you will receive certain optional benefits, especially ones that can greatly affect the revenue of a small firm. Is the firm insensitive? Yes. But, every woman intending to have children needs to address the temporal and financial considerations before you get pregnant.

        Now for the potentially helpful part: I worked for a small firm who essentially did not offer maternity leave. The partner wanted me back in 4 weeks, UNPAID. We evetually came to an agreed arrangement where I would work from home and earn some paid leave. I think you can still negotiate, especially over time. Let the idea sink in, and work with your firm to come to a compromise (keeping in mind they are not required to provide you with any leave, paid or unpaid). But, if you are a good employee who adds value to the firm, especially long term, you have some leverage. Try to be creative to come up with a resolution you both can live with (i.e. working from home, half hours, having a position to come back to, etc.) . If they don’t want to negotiate, you and Nina need to find another job anyway.

        • I kind of disagree; if you go through life expecting people who have shown no signs of being evil to suddenly do evil things, it’s going to be pretty difficult for you. (If they show a propensity to this kind of abhorrent behavior then you have to adjust, but . . . .)

          • “Evil”? It’s not evil to enforce a policy evenly. Does it suck for people who choose to have children at this firm? You bet. But it’s not evil.

        • I disagree. If the firm doesn’t have a policy, are you really going to ask the partners what the policy is before trying to conceive? I’m guessing a small firm like this doesn’t have HR or similar.

    • I agree. Alot of men are such shovineists sometimes. This COULD be a legal violation. I sugest she go to LEGAL AID OR THE FEDERAL guy’s, and ask them if they know anything about the MATERNITY leave benefit’s.

      I would ALSO tell the firm that you will make all of this PUBLIC if they do NOT let her have LEAVE and benefit’s.

      FOOEY on men who do NOT give us benefit’s but who want us to have their babie’s for them. FOOEY!

      If I have a baby, the manageing partner had darn better give me leave and benefit’s, after all I DO for the firm.

      • “FOOEY on men who do NOT give us benefit’s but who want us to have their babie’s for them.”

        Rarely do I agree with Ellen, but I have to say, hear, hear!

    • Cheap bastards. I work at a small firm with no maternity policy and they are essentially offering the same accomodations that larger firms offer, and I know of other small firms that are the same way. It was not even an issue. Nina is in a tough place – if she has finances to cover the gap, she should look for a job now that will start in a few months and just quit the firm. She can’t go back after getting screwed like that. If I were you I would try to do the same – maybe apply for a clerkship or something (assuming you’re only a couple years out of law school) that would start after a few months after your baby is due. It’s still early for you to make hard plans (I’m the paranoid type that refused to shop for baby clothes until my little fetus was viable), but make plans to quit this job, have your baby and some time off, and then start a new one. And get the word out about that firm so others don’t end up in the same situation. You are a salaried professional – it is a fair assumption that you would get maternity leave as part of a benefits package. It’s not yours (or Nina’s) fault that you girls are in this situation.

      • On further thought, does your state have disability leave? If you have any type of complicated birth, it may kick in, requiring your employer to give you time off. In my state, C-sections and episiotomies and the like are considered complications – just need your doctor to give you a note. Then the firm would be forced to at least give you (or Nina) that bit of extra time off.

        And if you’re friendly with the clients that you work with, when you tell them that you are leaving the firm, tell them that it’s because the firm offers no maternity leave and you have no other choice, and that you’re sad to not be helping them with their case/business/etc. anymore. Your firm deserves to have that be part of their reputation.

        • c-sections and episiotomies and the like”? I beg your pardon, but having had a couple episiotomies in my day, never a c-section, but laparoscopic surgery touted as much less invasive than the old way, I do not believe a c-section is “like” an episiotomy in any way other than that a sharp instrument is used.

          • Kontraktor :

            I think “and the like” was meant to note “and other birth related medical issues that can require longer healing times like c-sections and tears.” I don’t think this comment was meant to say they were the same? Just that some states have laws classifying *birth related complications* (such as tears and c-sections and other issues) as medical conditions that make a person elligible for certain disability classifications.

      • She definitely should NOT quit while pregnant if her insurance is through her employer. Even if she found a new job, she might not become covered by their policy immediately. She could use COBRA, but it’s normally pretty expensive.

        • Agreed – that’s important if she doesn’t have a partner’s health insurance that she can get on. I also like the idea below of making them fire you instead so you can get unemployment (not sure how that works, but sounds worth checking out).

    • I currently work at a small firm and I really feel for you and Nina. You can’t exactly ask about maternity leave before accepting an offer at a small firm because you run the risk of them pulling your offer if they think you’re going to get pregnant soon. And often small firms don’t even have policies (because they’ve never had to deal with it) or basically are like “we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.” Good luck to you both! While your employer certainly doesn’t have to give you maternity leave and you’re not eligible for FMLA leave, I am wondering if you would be covered by ADA? I can’t remember if pregnancy is a disability for which they have to grant accommodations or not…

      • I was the first (and last) attorney at my old firm (15 attys give or take) to ever go on maternity leave. They had no vacation or time off policy for the attorneys. The only thing I had to go on was the office manual for the staff that stated they got 6 weeks unpaid. Luckily, I sort of had them over a barrell in that I was not easily replaced at that point and they let me have have 8 weeks paid (6 weeks of maternity leave and 2 weeks of phantom vacation time since I had not taken any time off that year). Otherwise, it could very well have gone the way it did at the OP’s firm because they too were just that Dooshy and cared not for their reputation. I do think that if you asked about maternity leave up front during interviews or hiring at most firms that size, they would just move on to the next candidate (at least my old firm would have).

    • Did they explicitly say she couldn’t use any unpaid leave? If I were her, I’d float the idea of using her 3 weeks paid plus 3 weeks unpaid. If they still say no, I’d be looking for another job (both of you).

      minor math question- 3 weeks leave is really 15 days. If she has 13 now, you’re saying she’s only going to earn 2 more days in 4 months? As in you earn 6 vacation days a year and no specific sick leave? That’s awful.

      For those saying she’s naive… I could see someone reasonably not knowing FMLA wouldn’t apply, assuming they don’t read this blog or practice employment law. It’s easy to overlook the small business exception.

      • It’s accrued at the rate of a day per month, so just over 3 weeks.

        And yes, they explicitly said they would not offer an unpaid leave option.

        • You get 12 days of sick/vacation time a year? combined? or is it 12 and 12? this all sounds terrible!

          • That’s how it is at my firm too except you don’t accrue any vacation until you’ve been here for 6 months and sick leave is approved at the boss’ discretion. He gave a male associate who has been here for 5 years crap for taking 3 days of his accrued vacation at Christmas. The associate is a machine when he’s here. My boss just thinks we are here to work for him and he’s paying us to work, not take vacation. But I knew this going in which is why I’ve been looking for a new job the entire time I’ve had this one…

          • 12 days is more than I’ll get at my job for the foreseeable future.

    • Anon in ATX :

      OMG My heart almost stopped for you when I read the end of your post! I would second the advice to approach the female partner. Maybe you can use Nina to feel out her thoughts on the topic. Also, job hunting ASAP seems perfectly reasonable. On a similar note, we had a JP court judge here make the paper recently for forcing a solo attorney to bring her newborn infant to court b/c he would not grant her a continuance based on the fact that she was on maternity leave! (of course, the judge was a man) What is wrong with this world!! Sorry, no real advice, but I’m sending lots of sympathy and good vibes your way.

    • Kontraktor :

      This makes me sick. I am so, so sorry. I 100% agree with everybody’s suggestions for both of you (look for a new job ASAP and see if there is any way unpaid leave could be negotiated).

      This makes me feel SO much better I rejected an offer at a small boutique firm that didn’t really have a formal maternity leave policy and all other leave (in addition to losing anything usused at the end of the year without compensation) could only be taken if “business needs allowed.” Well WTH does that mean? Apparently it means things like this can and do happen. I have zero plans to have children any time soon but like the OP, I was thinking about it in a broader, what if scenario.

      I just want to give you both a hug and pick you new job fruit from the magical new job tree.

    • I am as surprised as everyone that she is not allowed some unpaid leave (say, 6-8 weeks). I think if she expected paid leave, I would say that was naive of her. This isn’t France or Canada.

      I can’t help but think that there is something more to this story. It really doesn’t strike me as credible that an employee of an otherwise pleasant-to-work-for firm went in to a planned meeting to discuss something like this and they basically said, nope, you can’t stay home on your own dime for 2 months, it will be cheaper for us to hire a replacement and then to train that replacement to figure out all your cases. It just seems off.

      But what I would do in that case, if I were her, is stay on as long as possible, take my 13 days or whatever it is, and let them fire me if unpaid leave was unacceptable. Then I would see if I could file for unemployment. Not sure how that would work exactly, but I would at least look into it. I would also look into short term disability insurance. I think Lyssa had some helpful info on that point in an earlier discussion. And, yes, I would look for another job at some point, too.

      • AIMS this is what I was thinking to. It just seems so weird to go into the meeting about maternity leave, and then find out there isn’t any leave, even unpaid. It is so weird that I feel something must be missing, or that the other partners living on planet earth will talk to the managing partner.

      • That’s why she/we are so blindsided – everybody has acted like her being pregnant was great, everyone is happy.

        Evidently in the meeting they acted like she’d asked for her own unicorn transport system rather than unpaid leave. We work at at a firm that talks up family all the time, lets people go to doctor’s appts, their existing kids’ awards program at school, etc without so much as a second look, so it really was surprising when this happened.
        Also, it was her + 3 partners, and the partners were all in agreement.

        Maybe she’s gone crazy, but she’s always been a good attorney and a reliable person before this. I can’t think of any issues with her work performance – and believe me, I’ve been trying to all day.

        • Not saying she is crazy, but is there any chance she is leaving something out of the story, perhaps even unintentionally? If your firm is otherwise flexible with these things, I just don’t see how they anticipated that she would only take 13 days off.

        • Kontraktor :

          Does her husband have a job? Is she the sole earner in the family? For this I will assume her husband is working/she is not the sole earner. My thoughts would change otherwise.

          If there is truly zero chance of unpaid leave and it really is going to be after 3 weeks she is fired, I would do a couple of things.
          1) See if insurance coverage can be moved to her husband before the baby is born. Sometimes you can do this, sometimes not. If no, usually insurance will allow you to make changes to your policy at a qualifying life event like the birth of a baby. But I would start researching what his insurance policies are and how and when she and the baby might be able to transfer to that insurance. I agree that she shouldn’t quit before the baby is born if there is no way of getting insurance to cover the rest of the pregnancy and birth.
          2) Research whether or not she can get unemployment benefits if she is fired. At this point, I would say assuming that the baby is healthy, the best bet is to take the days of paid leave and then get ‘fired’ because of not coming back, but probably this would only be moderately okay if she could get unemployment benefits in case it takes awhile for her to find a job.
          3) If she cannot get unemployment if she is fired, I would tell her to start super super saving up and stockpile as much as possible for when the baby comes. Then, I would tell her to start going on mad job hunts now, basically with a target start date of 6 weeks/whatever time after the baby is born. This way, she has at least started networking and planning to essentially lose this job.
          4) Research state disability laws to see what protections she might have if there are complications related to the birth. I wonder if she might even be able to have a consultation with a lawyer who specializes in employment law to just bounce ideas of/see if there are any legal protections available to her here.

          Some other ideas on how to help with this situation if she can’t really consider getting fired
          -any way to ask for work from home time for a couple of weeks? or even 75% time coming back after 3 weeks?
          -could she bring up (one commenter’s) point about it being inefficient to train somebody totally new in only 6 weeks? could she try to talk to one of the partners who might seem a smidge more sympathetic and revisit the issue?
          -any way she could negotiate to not have to take vacation time for doctor’s appointments or pregnancy related sick days? I might try to harp on this one. If they are essentially forcing her to bank 100% of her leave, surely they might be accomodating and let her use free/discretionary leave to take care of appointments and minor health ailments until the baby is born? you suggest your firm allows this contingency leave for other children related things

        • Are you sure they don’t just want to get rid of Nina? Maybe she sucks at her job… because it seems so weird otherwise, based on your description of the place.

      • The problems I see with this is that in most states that would be considered job abandonment, and thus she would be ineligible for unemployment. If it was viewed as her being unable to return to work because of the proximity to giving birth, then she is unable to work and thus ineligible for unemployment. It’s a shame but UI rules are NOT friendly to pregnant/new mothers. Some states (i.e. New York) do mandate short term disability insurance though.

        • Yep – stealth layoff and if she is fired for job abandonment, the firm can get out of paying unemployment.
          I agree with the other poster that said to find a new job and tell clients that you’re leaving because the firm doesn’t offer any maternity leave.

    • Oh, honey. Damn. That sounds really awful.

    • OP, that is such a hard situation both for you and Nina.

      It does sound like they want to get rid of Nina and if it’s not her performance, could it be that the firm needs to reduce staff due to lack of earnings or business problems? They might need to reduce staff and are taking a weird or easy way out. Or perhaps they were burned before by giving someone leave who didn’t return, and don’t want to go through that again? Not that I agree with their methods. Just some possibilities. Is there an office manager or long-term paralegal who might know the history?

    • With the caveat that this is not legal advice ;) . . .

      Your employer is probably well within its rights to do this, but it’s still a dooshy thing to do. Like other posters have suggested, there might be something else going on and they just don’t want Nina. While it may be true that there are plenty of hungry grads willing to work for nothing, new grads can be expensive to train. If she has years of experience, it doesn’t make sense that your partners would let a resource they have paid for go to waste by not letting her come back. Certainly, being business people, they understand the whole concept of ROI in human capital. And because I assume that business people know this, the fact that they are willing to let her not come back means, IME, they don’t want her, for whatever reason. Perhaps a legitimate reason, but they don’t feel comfortable terming her right now because she is pregnant.

      So, what I would do is this: I would scrutinize every employee absence over the past say, 5+ years and find comparators. Surely, someone has had to be out of the office for a medical reason (not for pregnancy, but a medical reason) when they did not have enough leave to cover it. Surely, someone has had a medical issue since the time this firm began??

      Also, are you sure that the partners really left it this way? Maybe they were trying to get her to realize that she was acting entitled to something and that she gave them no room to be generous?

    • Holy f* ck Batgirl! That’s bats*it crazy!

      A suggestion I don’t believe has been mentioned yet–pooled leave/vacation time. Would that be permitted, and are there enough people to contribute?

      As far as physically not being able to return to work: that’s not necessarily the case. I had NO maternity leave when DS was born, planned to take a week or two off and then get back in the classroom. When we came home from the hospital, I went straight to the computer. 5 days later, I was feeling, well, overwhelmed by the total responsibility that is motherhood, but physically ok. My mother noticed that the babe was looking yellow. I took him in to be checked out. He had jaundice, we had to check back into the hospital where he rested under a special light and every. two. hours. around the clock for a couple days they woke us up to nurse. When we got home, he had a special “blanket” with lights in it that he needed to be wrapped in. Long story short, I wound up being out for nearly 3 weeks. When I returned, my students gave me a round of applause. And I made it through the semester and the next, even taught summer school. Europeans have told me it’s “barbaric” that I was back to work so soon, but we made it. After the following year, though, I quit because I had to finish my diss and I wanted to get to know my kid.

      Parenting is hard. I suppose that if you’ve done menial labor before, that part would be easier, but that isn’t really the hardest thing. What really hits me is 1) there is no time off. If my child needs me, it doesn’t matter what I’m doing–working, having sex (HA! I’m a single mom & this doesn’t happen), grocery shopping –I’m on call. When I was a thousand miles away and he threw a fit, the babysitter called me. I rustled up a neighbor who could help and notified all the adults he’d deal with until I was home the next day. 2) you have full decision-making power for someone else’s life. What should you put in the diaper bag? Should you let him play peewee football? Take dance lessons? Who should care for him/her when you’re gone? What if that person doesn’t stick to part of the routine you’ve decided on? What do you clean up first: the sheets or the kid who just horked on them? It’s easy (for me, anyway) to let your mind run with the possible outcomes of each tiny decision. I say all this here to get to the point that parenting is always hard. You get used to it, but that doesn’t make it easier, and you can’t ever phone it in. It’s lousy not to have more time in the beginning, but you wouldn’t ease into it anyway. It will hit you like BAM! and be hard no matter what you do. Sorry, but that’s the truth. From my perspective any way.

      Good luck to you and Nina both! Share notes with each other, and maybe you’ll get a great friendship out of this.

    • This is awful. No advice, but just good luck!

      The US must be the only first world country with such rotten maternity leave policies. In Asia 12-16 weeks are pretty much standard, plus we have easy and cheap access to in-home Amahs or nannies…..

    • Could you pull the female partner aside to speak to her about this? Perhaps say something to the effect of: “Husband and I would like to have children in the foreseeable future. Nina told me the firm’s maternity policy is X. I’m concerned I may need to look elsewhere for employment if the maternity leave is so limited.” Don’t tell her you are pregnant, but let her know you have an interest in the maternity policy and consider the treatment of Nina unreasonable. As others have stated, it seems the firm does not care about keeping Nina as an employee, but it may be unrelated to her pregnancy. Perhaps the female partner (or a paralegal or legal assistant) can give you some insight.

      Also, for those of you that are shocked that small firms don’t have a maternity policy: my 60+ attorney firm doesn’t have a written maternity policy. I’ve been told the policy is we get 1 month paid leave per year we’ve been with the firm, but I don’t have that in writing. My husband and I will probably start TTC in the next six months and it is unnerving. My firm touts itself as family friendly, but is very male-dominated and most partners have wives who stay at home, which makes them out of touch with reality when it comes to single moms or homes where both parents work.

  13. I am buzzing because I just had a good interview with the exec director of a firm where I would love to work. I am supposed to come back next week to meet with some attys to see if I’d be a good fit. Assuming it goes well, does anyone have any tips on salary negotiation? I’m a junior lit associate coming from biglaw to a midsized firm (85 attys). If they offer me something that I can live with, should I still counter? TIA!!

    • ChocCityB&R :

      I offered up a salary negotiation packet on last weekend’s open thread (and I think there were a couple people who asked but I haven’t sent it yet, promise to get around to that). Give me your email and I’ll send it to you.

    • RussiaRepeat :

      Yes you should counter–not countering is how women end up getting paid less than men. They probably aren’t going to open with the number that’s the highest they’d be willing to pay you. If they say it is the highest they can go (if they’re lockstep), negotiate perks like extra vacation, getting a full bonus even though you’ll only be working for them half the year, etc.

  14. I am reposting because it looks like my last post has disappeared into the ether. I’m saying this just in case it shows up later and I’ve posted the same thing twice.

    It looks like there are lots of services with regular employment law updates. What service do the employment lawyers out there use? I’m trying to figure out which to try to sign up for.

  15. Two cents :

    Had my swearing in ceremony today for the bar. Attractive woman in front of me was wearing a SHORT SUIT. To the swearing in ceremony. Moreover, there were short shorts. :(
    Several of the speakers talked about how many folks are struggling to get jobs but that we should keep the faith, don’t lose hope, etc. When I see someone dressed so inappropriately to a courthouse event, I just wonder if she isn’t wearing something similar to an interview and if so, that would certainly explain why she was having a rough time. In a way I feel infuriated at her for not having common sense, and in a way I feel sad for her that she genuinely does not know better.

    • In the elevator in my building we have tv screens so people can stare at something other than each other. This week one of the fashion recommendations was to wear a shorts suit because it’s professional but will keep you cool and comfortable in the summer. Kid you not.

    • ChocCityB&R :

      I think I may have seen this woman on the BART this morning. I don’t want to give out too many details to confirm or deny…but did she have long curly blonde hair? She was gorgeous, but I was simply shocked to see someone actually wearing a short suit in real life.

    • An unemployed former extern of my firm contacted hiring partner to see if he could work a year post grad as a law clerk. He knows we can’t hire another attorney right now but wants any job and hopes maybe in a year we could take him on as an attorney. Hiring partner agrees. Hiring partner schedules a lunch for him w/ some of the firm attorneys for today. He shows up in shorts, a t-shirt, backwards baseball cap and those preppy boat shoe things, shoe laces untied, dragging on the ground. We went to a fancy restaurant and had a fancy lunch, all in suits, and him. I just wanted to shake him. He worked here. He knows it is a suit up firm!

    • Choc – Nope, this wasn’t in the Bay Area.

      Re: the fashion recommendation, this is what genuinely worries me – that there are young women in their mid 20s who maybe have never worked in a professional environment and genuinely believe that a short suit with short shorts is appropriate for work because that is what the fashion blogs, magazines, TV shows recommend. However, the fact that every other person in that room was wearing a skirt suit or pants suit tells me that most of them have figured out, so why not her?

      Interestingly, my husband, who never notices what women wear, said to me aftewards – “why the heck was that girl wearing shorts to court?”

      • I just want to stick up for the mid-20s women, some of us do know better! I agree that it is unfortunate that the fashion mags recommend short suits, but surely someone who is smart enough to work in a professional environment can figure out that fashion magazines probably aren’t the best inspiration. Sigh, maybe I’m in the minority, but if nothing else, my mother would tell me that I didn’t look professional if I came out in a short suit for my first day of work! (married now, and husband would definitely be confused if I came out wearing any type of shorts for the office, even he knows that’s weird!)

        • Right, the fact that everyone else in the room wore the right suit (many of whom were in their mid 20s) means that we can’t blame her age. But, I see that the women who makes these mistakes all tend to be young women in their 20s, which makes me wonder if they just haven’t worked in a professional environment before.

    • I saw my first IRL short suit yesterday. It was complete with a platinum pouf of giant hair and an Elle Woods pink plasticy zebra stripe-y purse. I was dumbfounded.

    • Eh, is this really a big deal? I remember getting sworn in & it was a zoo, no one of consequence there & I only wore a suit because I was going back to the office that day. I remember seeing everything there — it was just an easy way to get all the paperwork done at once. On a Friday, if she wasn’t going back to work (or if she was, even in a casual office), who really cares . . .

      • Anonymous NYer :

        In my state, a swearing in ceremony is an official session of the 2nd highest court in the state, and suits are absolutely expected. In fact, both states I’m admitted in are that way. It may be more ceremonial, but it’s still an official session with presiding justices of the court, and someone has to make a motion to admit the class of soon-to-be-attorneys. You show up to that as you would to any formal hearing of the court in front of justices.

        I saw a bright coral colored suit in one of my ceremonies, but it was appropriate in every other way, and looked kinda kicky. Shorts? never appropriate as a suit, especially in a formal court session.

        • In my state I went to a tiny office downtown and the woman who worked at the front desk swore me in (I couldn’t make the actual ceremony). It was pretty anti-climactic.

  16. Francie Nolan :

    Ok Ladies I have a strange one for you,

    My Ex – Husband recently moved and I goggled his name and email to find out if he has a new phone number (we have a daughter together).

    There were a few posts about how I use his child support for vacations and home improvements. That ticked me off but is par for the course, then I stumbled upon something strange…there is a site created to get a car donated to him, but it says he is a single homeless woman with two kids and needs a car donated. It doesn’t list his name, just his email, I guess it would be possible that someone else has the same email, should I leave it or report it to the site?

    Seeing these things make me so made at my younger self for being so naive.

    • Weird. Also, I feel like I saw a website like this linked to facebook or something recently. Would have been really weird if that was secretly your ex-husband.

      All I can say is document, document, document in case there is ever an issue in court as to custody.

      • Francie Nolan :

        That would be strange, although even though I am in NYC he is in New England, so not entirely impossible. Over the years, I have documented this kind of crazy stuff, but this takes the cake. I will report it to the site.

        ACK! And reading my earlier post, made = mad

        • TCFKAG is in new england too! oh my gosh ahah what if she did see it!

          • You know, it might have been on Craigslist when I was looking at used car listings. But its gone now ( maybe got flagged?) That makes me giggle.

          • Francie Nolan :

            It would not really surprise me, the world is a small place

    • Report it; nobody else can have the same e-mail. They may be using his e-mail without permission, but either way, it should be reported to the site.

      • What do you mean by “the site”?
        The site that manages his email? The site the ad appears on?
        If it’s craigslist, then yes go ahead, they’ll take this one down. But likely the email site won’t do anything, and he’ll just advertise elsewhere.
        If you really mean to report it, it’s the police you should be reporting him to.
        But think again if a child is involved, he’s likely to find out who reported him, and he sounds insane and potentially dangerous (let’s not mention incompetent at covering his tracks minimally, that’s another issue).

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Does your name appear in the posts about how you use the child support money? If a potential employer were to Google you, would that come up? I’d be concerned about that as well.

      And yes, you should report it to the site as well. Nobody can have the same email, so it is either him, a typo, or someone hacked his email.

      • Francie Nolan :

        Good points Sydney….

        Thank goodness, he did not name me in the child support stuff. It just really makes me mad, I worked hard to get from where I was when I divorced him to the life I have now. It is cold comfort that only people that know him will know it is me he is spewing hate about me

        I knew that two of the same emails cannot exist, it was a sarcasm font fail.

    • No one could have the same email at the same domain (i.e., if he’s john.smith at yahoo, someone else might by jon.smith at yahoo or johnsmith at gmail, but no one else could be john.smith at yahoo). I’m not sure who you report this type of potential fraud to, though. The company hosting the site is probably a good place to start, like you suggested. And yes, document, like TCFKAG said.

    • Whoa, that’s some major Google stalking, if you ask me.

      • Which seems to have been a really good idea, if half of what she found out is true.. The ex may well have a good idea of what a jerk may be up to, and if they have a child and she can’t entirely write him off staying informed isn’t a bad idea.
        OP: document!

  17. Kontraktor :

    I love these. I wish I could get them but I just spent $120 on fun new summer things between Old Navy and Kohls. I guess they are a little high for my budget too for a pair of non-work shoes. If I could I would buy all the colors though.

  18. Thanks to everyone for your car-buying advice yesterday! Much appreciated and you all gave me some great points to consider.

    On a totally unrelated note: what phrasing do you use for emails when you are introducing two people in a networking context? Both know the intro is coming but I always feel at a loss – do I give a brief background on each? I know I am overthinking this but can’t come up with something that sounds natural. I am also younger than the two women if that makes a difference (not sure why it would, but mentioning it just in case). Thanks!

    • subject : Introduction

      Body:

      Dear Jane and John,

      Jane, as promised, I’m putting you touch with John, my law school classmate and CEO of a company in your field. John, Jane is the ex-colleague I mentioned to you who’s looking to break into your field. Thanks for agreeing to chat with her!

      Regards,
      Laura #2

  19. So my older sister has apparently fractured her right shoulder :(
    Very sad for her but glad it was not something worse. I have been lucky that I’ve never broken anything but it puts me at a loss on how to help. We’re about 1.5 hrs. apart, so my ability to visit on a daily basis is limited. She’s also out in the burbs so she is kind of stuck in the house since she cannot drive with her arm in a sling. She is going to be out of commission for 4-8 weeks, minimum. Any ideas on how to make her feel better or just how to help? Right now she is just super bummed to be in this state. FWIW, cooking is not a problem because she has someone to help with that. Oh, and I don’t really drive so going to drive her around isn’t an option.

    • Kontraktor :

      If she isn’t going to be working during this time, could she come stay with you for 1 or 1.5 weeks?

      • She won’t be working, but staying with me isn’t an option either. I am going to make a concerted effort to visit once a week, minimum, but am trying to think of other things to cheer her up.

        • Well — all the things for the lady above on bedrest seem to apply. DVDs of her favorite shows, maybe DVDs of a new show you think she’d like, maybe some books on tape or even a kindle (presuming holding a regular book would be hard). Also, periodic e-mails and calls and texts, just because.

          Finally, why not make a gift basket full of some of her favorite treats from Trader Joes or something and send it her way, she’ll probably appreciate that.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I also broke my right shoulder but it was a hairline fracture so it doesn’t sound as severe. I could still drive, just not stick shift.

      One of my big issues was caring for my hair. My hair only looks nice if blow dried straight and then straightened. Only recently could I wear it curly. If I just leave it and do nothing it looks awful.

      My husband was kind enough to wash and attempt to blow dry it for me. Blow drying w/ my left hand just didn’t work. But, I would have LOVED if someone took me to get it professionally washed and blown out once/week.

      In the beginning I couldn’t even put my hair in a ponytail. I finally figured out I could kind of get it out of my face w/ clips w/ one hand.

      The other thing I needed was to swap my standard car w/ my parents automatic.

      • I was going to recommend hair help, too. It’s one of those things that is so much easier with two arms/hands. I’ve had a few surgeries and broken bones, and after a few days/first week, I was able to adjust and get into a groove. I hope she has a similar experience and makes a full recovery.

    • Seattleite :

      It would be a real kindness to shave her legs for her.

  20. Of course the week I’m swamped with work, there’s an awesome Pittsburgh thread.
    I can’t believe you guys all know about La Gourmandie- I thought it was this secret gem!
    (and they open at 9:30am on Saturdays)

    If you also frequent Over the Bar or Pho Minh, then it’s time for me to throw in my hipster restaurant towel.

    • MissJackson :

      You can keep at least half of your hipster towel — I happened on La Gourmandie on accident (on my way to the Sears Outlet — aka “scratch and ding”), and I think everyone knows about OTB (I’m lamely mostly friends with attorneys, and OTB shows up on my fb newsfeed pretty frequently), but I haven’t been to Pho Minh. But since you seem to have excellent taste, I’m thinking I bet get there stat!

Add a comment.

Questions? Check out our commenting policy. Tech problems? Please report it to the tech team.