On August 10, 2020, I received what would become the greatest news of my life: my wife and I found out we were expecting our first child. As we began daydreaming about the new addition to our family, the realities of life also began setting in. Not only would we be contending with the unique challenges posed by the pandemic, but we also began to evaluate how two type-A professionals would deal with childcare.
My wife is a dentist, and the dental industry has historically struggled to provide meaningful “parental leave,” as the practice inherently requires the doctors to physically be present to treat patients. Leave in the dental field is typically unpaid, with a strong encouragement (whether driven by patient care, finances, or other motivators) to return as promptly as possible.
Historically, the legal field also does not lay claim as a pioneer in promoting parental leave. Fortunately, there is a slow but steady shift towards recognizing the value of paid childcare leave in general. However, those gains tend to focus primarily, if not exclusively, on maternity leave.
In 2019, my firm introduced a new leave policy offering 10 weeks leave for all parents, in addition to medical recovery time for birth parents. As a first-time parent, I had no idea what this truly entailed. Moreover, as a first-time father, I only had a conceptual idea of what my role would even be during our child’s early days. What was to ensue would change me not only as a lawyer but as a person altogether.
Read the complete “Time for This Dad to “Leave”—The Power of Parental Leave” article in the American Bar Association's Spring 2022 issue of TortSource.