Law School Maternity Leave Policies:

A question to the law professors among our readers -- what are your school's maternity leave policies (or parental leave policies, if you have them)? Inquiring minds (though neither mine nor my wife's) want to know. Many thanks!

Just Saying:
"If you're feeling maternal... you should leave.".

No, wait; that's the law firm I work at.
2.28.2008 4:13pm
GMUSL '07 Alum (mail):
GMU didn't have an official one until then-Professor Moore showed up, as she told us in class one day. She told Dean Polsby something to the effect that she didn't care about the size of or view from her office, but she wanted the a good maternity leave policy. She said something like, "I'm recently married, I'm Catholic, and I'm relatively young. You better write up a maternity leave policy, because I plan on using it." And she did.

(N.B. I am not a law professor, but I heard this story directly from her)
2.28.2008 4:35pm
rarango (mail):
Professor V: why do I think someone is on a committee to draft a maternity (and, I hope, paternity) leave policy. :) No need to reinvent a wheel on this issue.
2.28.2008 4:38pm
Most law schools give the prof one semester off.
2.28.2008 9:38pm
Paul McKaskle (mail):
I'm not sure of the details, but I think we are fairly liberal about maternity leaves at my law school--but how much salary, if any, is paid is not known to me. It is helped in California by the fact that SDI (or VDI--an alternative--both are California laws providing for temporary disability) provides tax free payments to those on maternity leaves. This likely does not equal the pay of the professor on maternity leave but it might be used as an offset to whatever pay the prospective mother might otherwise receive (though I don't know this for a fact).

The SDI or VDI is charged to all employees of the University as a percentage of income (somewhere around one percent) and for higher paid faculty or staff it is capped at a figure around $600 to $800 per year. (The percentage and the maximum amount is determined by the amount of disability payments in the previous year. So, the more babies by faculty or staff, the higher the charge is.) Similarly to FICA (Social Security) this charge is NOT deductible for income tax purposes.
2.29.2008 12:27am
Our private fector law firm used to have a pretty good short term disability policy, it covered us from the end of the next full week you were out, for eight weeks until long term disability kicked in for those who met those much higher standards.

Every single woman, staff or attorney, rode the baby train to the end of the line. The straw that broke the camel's back was when the carrier doubled the cost and the latest attorney to drop a frog was at every single home game the whole time she was out, in her husband's business's seats right next to the firm seats. Towards the end she brought said baby.

So now when a male associate gets hurt (for real, because most men know they need to be at work to get ahead) he is screwed for three months.
2.29.2008 8:28am
Suzy (mail):
The timing on the academic calendar creates unique problems for professors' parental leaves. At most schools, profs will be evaluated on publication as much or moreso than on teaching, which is usually done during the 9 months of the regular academic year. Summer is an important opportunity for research. However, a prof who takes parental leave in June, losing research time and not getting any further time away from teaching, is at a significant disadvantage compared to one who takes leave in January, retaining plenty of time for research and being excused from a semester of teaching duties. Very few schools have policies that address this basic problem, and mother nature (and adoption agencies) have a way of not caring about optimal timing.
3.3.2008 5:37pm