A Modest Proposal

     Rarely a day goes by when I don’t spot an article or a blog or a tweet or a whisper about the difficulty of balancing career and family.
     Obviously, this is usually hardest for women. Do you single-mindedly pursue that partnership or do you take a “mommy track” and give up the untold riches that go to babyless guys?
     It seems like a tough decision.
     But is it really?
     There’s an obvious solution to this dilemma but, for some reason (perhaps a legal reason), no one is talking or writing about it.
     Fortunately, I’m here to help.
     This is what you do: Put the baby to work.
     There is absolutely no reason why a healthy baby can’t earn a living right alongside his or her parent.
     The mommy/daddy-track – producing useful working babies – may be the fastest way to a partnership because infants can do many useful things in your office.
     Client relations is the most obvious task for babies.
     Picture a client walking into your office and seeing, instead of a secretary or concierge, a baby.
     Instead of an angry or wary client, you’ve got a smiling client – a client not paying attention when you explain your fees.
     This alone could double or triple your firm’s revenue.
     Consider how useful a baby would be during depositions.
     A surreptitious, well-timed pinch to the baby can stop damaging statements cold. This is much more effective than objecting, and is likely to derail any opponent’s chain of thought.
     Babies are also ideal for demonstrations. If you have an obstreperous, unreasonable client, simply bring in a baby and say something like this: “Of course, we’ll do it your way, but this is how the court will see you …”
     I know what you’re thinking. What happens when you have to fire the baby because he’s grown into a toddler? Won’t there be a diaper rash of age discrimination suits?
     Not at all. You don’t have to fire them. Older children also have many uses.
     Have you ever tried to argue with a 2-year-old? Put them in charge of settlement negotiations.
     Talks will end quickly and your contingency fees will grow exponentially.
     Once the kids are old enough for preschool (where they won’t go because they’re working for you), they become the firm’s tech support.
     Children can also check boxes on form complaints. I’ve never understood why adult time is wasted on those things.
     But plan ahead. Children eventually turn into adults. What do you do with them then?
     Some, of course, will leave voluntarily and live on the streets. Many others will seek therapy and/or file specious class actions.
     Those who remain have a vital task: producing more babies for the firm.
     It’s the cycle of law firm life.
     Solace for the childless: Some of you now are rightly thinking that law firms without infants or adults willing and capable to produce them will be at a disadvantage.
     You’re right, of course, but there are workarounds.
     For example, if you know you’re going into a settlement conference with a particularly fierce toddler, you can include an experienced, no-nonsense nanny on your negotiating team.
     When talks get heated, demand a timeout.
     Childless firms can adopt. There are many shelter babies in need of a good home and a law firm is better than the foster care system.
     There’s also artificial insemination and surrogate mothers.
     Imagine putting together DNA from your most aggressive and moneymaking partners.
     Then imagine putting together DNA from your meekest associates who do all the research and never complain.
     We may be looking at an era of uber law firms.

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