Harrity Partner & Diversity Co-chair, Elaine Spector, recently went viral in a LinkedIn post sharing her thoughts on how mothers are treated in the field of law, in response to a leaked text message from a male attorney to his female colleague in Ohio.
In short, the female attorney was asked to work while on maternity leave, and later resigned. She received the following text from a male partner at her firm.
“What you did — collecting salary from the firm while sitting on your ass, except to find time to interview for another job — says everything one needs to know about your character. Karma’s a bitch. Rest assured, regarding anyone who inquires, they will hear the truth from me about what a soul-less and morally bankrupt person you are.”
Elaine’s post reads:
“‘Collecting Salary From the Firm While Sitting on Your Ass’
We can all look at the statement and think it is atrocious. But what is more atrocious is that the firm leadership’s first response was to “explain” the exchange. I am happy to hear that the lawyer who sent the text was fired, but why didn’t that happen initially?
And what unnerves me the most is that many lawyers think this way. That somehow, maternity leave is easy where we just “sit on our ass” and eat bon-bons.
Let me tell you something. Growing a human inside of me (three times) was the most physically challenging time in my life, not to mention the trauma of birth. I had no idea the recovery would be so painful. Imagine having surgery and then being woken up in the middle of the night every 2 hours to nurse a child. It is absolutely physically exhausting. I needed every day of the 12 weeks I had off to recover from birth, as well as bond with my child.
So, as a show of solidarity with the woman who received that horrific text, I am posting a picture of me just after I gave birth to my first child 20 years ago. It was harder than any race I have run.
Shortly after, Elaine was featured in an article for Above the Law by Wendi Weiner, who discusses the curtailing impact of why toxic culture is to blame for women leaving law firms.
“Elaine Spector, a patent lawyer, posted in solidarity about her pregnancy and subsequent harsh recovery. Both of these posts and countless others sent a very loud and clear message: maternity leave is definitely not ‘sitting on your ass,'” the article, titled Why Toxic Culture Is To Blame For Women Leaving Law Firms reads.
At Harrity, we believe in equal treatment and opportunity regardless of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status. We are also committed to maintaining a respectful, inclusive, and supportive workplace for all employees.
In support of all working women and all moms throughout the world, if you haven’t already, we encourage you to post a picture of yourself either after childbirth, mothering your children, or whatever you have, to demonstrate our support of one another and as a way to break the bias towards moms! Please include the hashtag #BreakMomBias.