When The Mommy Track Leads Out The Door

There is no "mommy track" for associates at the New York office of law firm K&L Gates. That's because they fired all the mommies.

Over at Above The Law, Elie Mystal writes,

We're hearing that the New York office of K&L Gates apparently sports zero associate mothers. There are some female partners at K&L Gates with children, but no female associate in the New York office has figured out how to breed and hang on to her job at the same time.

The firm didn't respond to requests for comment, but according to Mystal's sources, each of the six female associates with children was either fired or laid off. Two were fired after performance evaluations while they were on maternity leave, and two more were "laid off" soon afterwards. Within a year, a fifth left because her hours were greatly reduced, and a sixth was "fired during performance evaluations." By the beginning of this year, all of the female associates with children were gone, though some female partners do have children.

Many of Above The Law's commenters bristle at the suggestion that correlation could equal causation here. Others assume that these women had subpar performance — presumably due to being distracted by their babies — and deserved to be fired accordingly. But another one gets to the heart of the point: "Firing mothers is not inconsistent with a large law firm's 'work life balance' initiative. It is consistent with the unspoken premise of these initiatives: your work and your life are only in the correct balance when you work all of the time."

Even without any further information about why these women were fired or laid off, that's hard to dispute. What was that again about showing young women they could get ahead in the legal arena and have kids at the same time?

KL Gates Closed To Associate Mothers [Above The Law]