Prominent writer and reporter, Brigid Schulte, posted an article today on The Washington Post: Working-Mother Readers Share Stories of Opting In and Out of the Workforce. The article was an update to a prior piece she wrote, Movement to Keep Moms Working is Remaking the Workplace, which drew an overwhelming response and hundreds of comments from readers. Brigid Shulte asked readers to shares their stories of opting in and opting out of the workforce, and wrote a second article based on those stories.
The article quoted a depressing story from a mother of two children under five, who worked for a big trade association in DC for seven years:
I’ve had good performance reviews for many years, until recently. My new supervisor, a woman who’s never married, has no children, has just announced that she’s stripping my flexibility away, because according to her, it has become such a problem, that according to her, the organization’s low morale is caused by MY flexibility. It has become her weapon of attack. Not only she’s taking my flexible schedule away, but also rewrote my job description, with expanded work responsibilities, at no pay…
….I struggled to make it work because there did not seem to be a good alternative. Laurie opted out when her baby was about 6 months old. I tried to make it work for about a year, but ultimately opted out in early 2009. Laurie and I decided to do contract work together, just for the support and to back each other up. Pretty soon, friends and friends of friends asked if they could join us, and the vision which is now Montage Legal Group was born. Montage Legal Group now has 20 freelance attorneys, all former big-firm lawyers who opted out in favor of flexibility and more time with family. Our attorneys come from schools like Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, Michigan Law, Georgetown, etc. and were trained at firms like Gibson Dunn, Latham & Watkins, Morgan Lewis, Allen Matkins, etc….
The goals of the company, in addition to providing law firms with excellent attorneys at an exceptional value, are to keep women in the legal practice instead of opting out entirely, and bringing women back in after an extended absence.