Mr. Mom & The Future Attorney

Contributed by: Natalie Lynn Fears

What exactly does it mean to be a wife, and eventually a mother, while also trying to finish first in the game of law school? At first, for me, it meant takeout, piles of dirty laundry, and an unmade bed five days a week. As a newlywed, and a second year law student, it is no doubt that balancing the role of a loving wife with being a diligent student is exhausting. Many sleep deprived nights, and five extra pounds later, I began to find a balance.

The thing about being a law student that is so gripping is the sense of purpose received after pushing through intellectual challenges. The only problem with having my head in a book hours on end daily is the nudging feeling that there may be something outside the text books that's missing. One Friday afternoon, and three baby shower invitations later, I found myself wondering if my husband and I would ever have time for children of our own. While the newly married couples around us were settling into new homes and expanding their families, my husband and I found ourselves climbing the professional ladder.

As a recent business graduate from Georgia Southern University, my husband was working two jobs and desperately trying to find a break in this unforgiving economy. Finding a minute to ourselves, without one of us falling asleep before 9 p.m., had become more challenging than the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. When finals and my second appellate brief were completed, I embarked on the coveted Christmas break. This meant four weeks of rest and relaxation. My biggest worry was finding a Christmas gift for my new in-laws. This hiatus gave me time to reflect on things in life outside law school. After being trained for almost two years to think and write in I.R.A.C. formation, this hypothetical consumed my brain: How could an over achieving law student, married to a double major business whiz, find time to start and raise a family. And then, I had the greatest epiphany of all: I. Issue: What if my husband could be a stay at home dad? And for that matter, how many female attorneys had husbands playing the role of Mr. Mom? R. Rule:

a. Traditional, Common Law Rule: Women should be confined to the home.
b. Proposed Rule for Adoption: Men can elect to stay at home with the children while women fulfill themselves professionally.

A. Analysis: I wondered how many career driven females, especially in the legal field, existed. Were there others like me who had a strong desire to fulfill themselves professionally, but still longed for a family of their own? And then it happened. A fellow peer of mine had a cesarean section the day after our fall semester finals were complete. She shared with me that when she returned to school, her husband would take care of the baby, all day, by himself. She expressed her concern over someone other than a biological parent being her baby's caretaker during those crucial first months. That day I realized that I had a committed partner, whom I considered my equal too. And, if after 3 years of intense legal training, I wanted to climb my way to partner of a private firm, there could still be a parent at home to raise our children. I wondered if I would feel selfish for sacrificing that precious time that so many stay at home moms covet. And then I realized this: Being a working mom gives you the ability to provide for your family in invaluable ways. And the best part is, when you tell your child, especially your little girl that she can be whatever she wants to be, you can say it with a vindication. C. Conclusion: The truth is some men are secure in their role as stay at home dads, and some never will be. My fellow law student was fortunate enough to marry a man that would put his career on the back-burner while she pursued hers. Many men still prefer to be the bread winner of the family, but fortunately there is a growing trend of men who will stay home with the kids for us women who want to pursue a fulfilling legal career.

 

Law Firms React to Landlord's Response to Lease Renewals - Declining Concessions or Renegotiation of the Lease

In Atlanta, law firms are on the move. They are willing to pay the up-front costs to transfer the entire firm from one office location to a new leased location due to several factors. One of the factors includes the old landlord's inability to provide incentives for beneficial lease renewal terms and for proving incentives to law firms to stay in the current space. Instead, landlords are often coming up short in providing any type of monetary tenant improvements, and managing partners are seeking law firm offices elsewhere. With the abundance of empty law offices in Atlanta, law firm are lured to seek new Atlanta law offices. Capital outlays have currently been made in the current locations while newly built commercial buildings are offering super sweet deals plus dollar for dollar tenant improvement incentives. Just recently, the law firm of Fisher & Phillips exited from the classic Resurgens building and has landed in the new 12 & Midtown building located at the corner of Peachtree and 12th Street in the heart of Midtown, Atlanta. The facility is new, shiny and appealing to the broad based clients of Fisher & Phillips, LLP. Roger Quillen, managing partner stated, "the glut of A-plus office space offered an economic incentive we couldn't turn down". "The entire cost of the new space, fully built out and outfitted, was less than our expenses and rent at the old space". Law firms are in transition all over the City of Atlanta. Law firms are setting up and Atlanta law offices are looking closely at the term of their leases and starting negotiations with landlords. While renewal of a current lease is often a first choice, without the incentive to stay, landlords are losing law firm tenants.

It appears that the earlier these managing partners are starting negotiations with landlords the more equipped the law firm is for moving if necessary. For instance, Mr. Finlayson, a managing partner at Mozley Finlayson & Loggins, LLP, a 40-person corporate-law firm in Atlanta, says on the advice of a broker he felt it was the right time to make a deal. After three months of negotiations, he secured a size-year extension at a 20% discount, plus one year of rent at half price, starting in January. Landlords, who retain large to medium sized law firms, such as Ackerman & Co., are pleased not to see a law firm exodus. "We don't want to see tenants walk out the door, particularly big tenants who have been with us a long time," says Frank Farrell, a senior vice president for Ackerman in Atlanta. "The costs of a renewal are probably half of what they are on a new deal." The bottom line is small to large law firms are seeing opportunities in the soft commercial real estate market trying to renegotiate their office lease for less money. Alternatively, law firms are moving their offices to newly built spaces often just down the street from their old location. Resources: Time is ripe for Negotiation Posted March 3, 2011, Walls Street Journal Belt-tightening benefits Fisher& Phillips Posted February, 21 2011, The Daily Report.

Race, Racism, & The Law Memorandum

Impact of Ricci regarding reverse discrimination in the workplace

INTRODUCTION The Ricci case had earned much notoriety as a result of Justice Sotomayor's senate confirmation hearings during the summer of 2009. Members of our legislature opposing her nomination, for whatever reasons they, continually focused on her role in this decision prior to its appeal to our nation's highest court. I remember intently watching the confirmation hearings, hearing Justice Sotomayor being grilled from members of the senate committee solely on the topic. It was not until I began researching this case for the purposes of this memorandum that I learned that Justice Sotomayor did not write an opinion to this case at all, but merely signed an order affirming summary judgment. Ricci v. DeStefano, 264 Fed.Appx. 106 (2d Cir. 2008).

There was a very brief opinion attached to the order. The short text that was given explained that the firefighters did not have a viable Title VII claim; and the Board acted lawfully in refusing to validate the exams to satisfy Title VII requirements when faced with results with a showing of disproportionate racial impact. Id. Subsequent to the order, an active judge of the Court requested a poll on whether to rehear the case in banc. Ricci v. DeStefano, 530 F.3d 88 (2d Cir. 2008). The Second Circuit of Appeals in a 7-6 vote, withdrew their order affirming, and instead issued a per curiam order. Id. Then Judge Sotomayor concurred with Judge Katzmann and Judge Parker in their opinions to decline an en banc rehearing of Ricci. But because of the continuous opposition against Justice Sotomayor during the confirmation hearings on this decision, in addition to the press' nonstop reporting on this attack, my interest in the developments of Ricci was certainly incited. Racism in American society stemming from the time of slavery still exists to a varying degree. Though slavery is of course no longer an issue; prejudice, intolerance, and bigotry continues to inject itself into culture whether those who are realize it or not. To combat this, Congress enacted The Civil Rights Act of 1964 that outlawed discrimination and ended racial segregation in America.

Contributed by: Andrew Thomas Smith In Ricci v. DeStefano, the principle case in this memorandum, the Supreme Court particularly examines an aspect of Title VII of the Act; which prohibits discrimination by covered employers on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. But interestingly enough, legislation that was passed to prevent discrimination of minorities in the workplace, has become the means to prevent discrimination of non-minorities. Discrimination has grown to become a complex entity in itself. Reverse discrimination and affirmative action programs have become the source of much controversy in cases involving inequality in the workplace; and we see the source of ire in the principle case stems from it. Reverse discrimination is: 1) a concept of prejudice directed; 2) against members of certain social or racial groups, as white persons; 3) thought of as being dominant or having benefited from past discrimination against minority groups who are now favored. These are often as a result of (and most commonly associated with) affirmative action programs; the policies that take factors including "race, color, religion, sex or national origin" into consideration in order to benefit an underrepresented group, usually as a means to counter the effects of a history of discrimination..

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964 TITLE VII Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has been used to both defend and oppose reverse discrimination decisions by employers. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the subject of the longest Congressional filibuster in history, and until this day it continues to hold that record. Crain, Kim, Selmi, Work Law: Cases and Materials 536 (2006 Lexis/Nexis). Prior to the enactment of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, it was legal for employers to discriminate on the basis of race, sex, national origin, and religion. Id. But the bottom line principle of Title VII is found in section 703(a)(1): "It shall be an unlawful practice for an employer ... to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual or otherwise discriminate against any individual... because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin." 42 U.S.C.

Daddy Daycare

I know what it is like to be a career driven female, but I cannot pretend to know what it would be like for a man to stay at home raising children. I thought it would be wise to have a male's perspective. I sat down with a very well respected student from my law school that had the privilege of being a stay at home dad for 3 years. The insight he gave me was honest and inspiring. The reason my peer decided to stay home with his daughter was because his wife was finishing medical school, starting her residency, and would be working ridiculous hours. They decided, as a couple, it would be best for him to put his career on hold, and stay home a couple of years. They were apprehensive about putting their newborn baby in daycare 45+ hours a week. As I talked with my fellow student, I began to notice a common trend. One parent usually chooses to stay at home with the newborn child, while the other parent provides financial resources. The main concern is usually the hours the baby would spend with someone other than the parents. This is not a new concern, but traditionally, the mother would forfeit her career to take on this responsibility. Now, men are choosing to make the sacrifice instead. I wondered further what the benefits of being raised by either parent would be versus alternative child care. In his particular situation, the benefits were immense. At 15 months, his daughter had a 300 word vocabulary. She could sight read over 400 words at 3 and began to read books at 4. She just turned 6, is in kindergarten, and reads at a 3rd grade level. She also has never had an ear infection. She plays the piano and received a perfect score at her last Hymn Festival. She is a confident, intelligent, well adjusted kid. "Now is that because I stayed home with her or because she received superior genes from her Mom? I'll assume it was a combination of both." It seems the results of a parent raising their child during the most delicate and formative years are extremely beneficial. However, sacrificing a career for the immense benefits of the child must come with a trade off. When I asked him if his domestic position was challenging, he was not afraid to answer candidly. He said that being a stay at home dad required adaptation and creativity, but that he wouldn't trade the time with his kids for anything in the world. A recurrent theme in our conversation was his overall plan. He accredited the strength of his marriage and security in his position as a stay at home dad with his goal of going to law school. He said he always knew he would be attending law school once his wife's residency was over. Being home with his child gave him an opportunity to do all the research he needed to find the perfect law school. He said that he never could have completed such an application process if he didn't have the time at home to do the research. He holds a strong belief that eventually a man has to work. He feels, and I agree, "That no matter how liberated or intelligent a woman is, at her core, she will lose respect for her husband if he doesn't work for more than a few years". He feels the key to a successful marriage, and especially his marriage, is a wife maintaining respect for her husband. When asked if he would recommend staying at home he replied, "Sure, so long as the marriage is strong and the period of time is limited and well defined. A man also needs to work for his own self esteem and to maintain his self worth." Contributed by: Natalie Lynn Fears

What is the "Cloud" and How Can You Use it In Your Law Practice

Lawyers are talking about successful "cloud" case and document management. You may have heard attorneys talk about "the cloud" when discussing IT projects or back up for legal documents. The cloud simply means computer power that is available as a service, accessed securely through the Internet rather than using on-premise servers. After all, servers take up your valuable office space in your law firm. With cloud computing, great scale and best practice benefits are achievable, meaning high availability and productivity for you and your law practice.

Another term you may have heard is "unified communications". For most companies and law firms today, telephone, e-mail, IM, audio conferencing, video conferencing, Web conferencing and voice mail all live in their own disconnected silos. Unified communications reduces technology complexity by putting people at the center of the communications experience by integrating all of the ways we contact each other in a single environment. In order to leverage the cloud and cloud-based unified communication services, you'll need a reliable way to connect your office, satellite offices and remote lawyers to the cloud. There are numerous firms which provide private cloud hosting and part or fully managed outsourcing. Security and management of data are also key issues. Make certain that any vendor or company you may consider has appropriate certifications. With today's expansive choice and availability of services, law firms are now utilizing the cloud and are pleased with the predictable costs and high reliability it provides.

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