ABA Parental Leave Policy Recommendation
By: Chelsea A. Mikulencak

It is never lost on me how incredibly lucky I am to work for an employer that understands the importance of parent-child bonding after a child’s birth or home placement. I am well aware of the parents’ plight in the legal field. Billable hours, unending duties and responsibilities to clients, and the bottom line often dictate the work hours and lack of free time of many attorneys. Not to mention the demand for increased performance if an attorney wants to become partner one day. These demands leave little apparent room for allowing attorneys or their staff to take months off at a time for a birth or adoptive child placement.

Going forward, I implore state and local bar associations, and firms and attorney employers of all sizes and types to work together to figure out how to support our attorneys and legal staff so that these individuals can continue the important legal work that attorneys and their staff do, and to still enable them to have a life that seems more and more out of reach to my generation. Attorneys need and are entitled to having a decent quality of life outside of the office, a change that we all must continue advocating for in order to support improvements in our fields’ overall mental health and wellness.

Making sure attorneys and their staff can access and utilize paid time off, without fear of retaliation or getting fired, is simply non-negotiable going forward. It is a change that is long overdue and can no longer be ignored. Our noble justice fighters need this change, and even more importantly, so do their children. It is our children who pay the highest price of all when parents are inadequately supported by their employers to take time to raise their children.

I was pleased to learn that at the 2018 ABA Midyear Meeting, the ABA Young Lawyer Division presented and approved Resolution 3YL (submitted by the Florida Young Lawyers Division). The resolution urges all jurisdictions to adopt a Parental Leave Rule. I commend our ADA YLD district representatives and Texas Young Lawyers Association Executive Committee for supporting this resolution and voting in its favor.

Chelsea A. Mikulencak is an assistant city attorney for the city of San Antonio.


Views and opinions expressed in eNews are those of their authors and not necessarily those of the Texas Young Lawyers Association or the State Bar of Texas.

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