Lili Panarella Working Parent

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My first baby was born during finals week. I took my exams at home, so I could take breaks to breastfeed my newborn. Turns out law school was the easy part. When my baby was 1-year-old, I started working at one of the largest firms in Oregon. While other eager new associates were hustling to impress the partners, I was trying to figure out how to tell them I was pregnant with my second child and that after my maternity leave I wanted to work part-time.

They were very supportive when I finally worked up the courage to share my news. I stayed with that firm for 11 years. During that time, my friends and I exchanged tips about what we should say if we had to leave during office hours to attend a school event, whether we should ask our nannies to do housework, where to find the best housekeeper and many other things that sound trivial, but are surprisingly important when you already carry a lot of maternal guilt. We understood on a deep level that our lifestyles were not sustainable, so we talked about starting our own law firm. Our dream firm would have a family-friendly culture without sacrificing excellent client service. When my family moved back to Missoula, I decided to take a leap of faith and start such a firm, where I hope lawyers with families with thrive instead of merely survive.


About the Author

Lili Panarella

Lili Panarella is an estate planning & employee benefits lawyer at , a minority-woman-owned law firm.

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