Jennifer Jeffers is an associate in MoFo’s Environment and Energy Group, resident in our San Francisco office. She advises domestic and international clients on land use, environmental, and regulatory matters in a number of sectors, including natural resources, renewable energy, water, climate change, and real property development.
How do you balance your legal career with life outside the firm?
This is the age-old question! Often it seems that every minute of my day is accounted for, and I’ve learned over time to become as efficient as possible whether it is at work addressing a client matter or at home getting the kids ready for dinner. I love what I do as a professional and enjoy learning from my colleagues, working with clients, and finding solutions to difficult legal issues. However, I am also so grateful to watch my kids grow and learn on a daily basis. I want to make sure my family knows they are a priority.
Without a doubt, there are always going to be pros and cons of being a working parent, just as there are pros and cons with being a stay-at-home parent. It is easy to think the grass is greener on the other side until you realize that there is no perfect “answer.” We are all just doing the best we can and making life work.
Do I feel like some of my days are much more balanced than others? Sure.
Is the notion of balance always somewhat of a moving target? Absolutely!
Work, family, and life demands constantly ebb and flow. I’ve found that the more I recognize the idea of balance is a fluid one, the greater my ability to take things as they come and prioritize what is important.
What policies and programs have proven the most beneficial in helping you manage work and family responsibilities?
One thing I’ve been particularly grateful for at MoFo is the ability to work a reduced-hours schedule. As many working parents know, day care and school schedules do not always align with professional work schedules. My husband and I quickly learned that little ones get sick — a lot. Being able to have some flexibility in my hours and days in the office has been a huge help in making sure that work and family commitments are all functioning as smoothly as possible, while also providing a bit of balance between the two.
MoFo’s substantive maternity leave policy is also something of which the firm should be very proud and which I believe is immensely valuable. Studies confirm that children, families, and businesses benefit from longer (i.e., more than the state-mandated 12 weeks) paid maternity and paternity leaves. I would venture to think the firm’s forward-thinking maternity leave policy has led to higher rates of attorney retention over the long term.
How does the San Francisco Working Moms Group or other support networks support lawyers who are working mothers?
The San Francisco Working Moms Group is fantastic! I always look forward to the lunches and events that the group hosts, if for no other reason than to socially engage with some of the other working parents dealing with many of the same challenges, opportunities, funny stories, and the like. The events that the Working Moms Group hosts are very well received, and it is nice to know that a smaller working mothers community is in place for professional and moral support.