Right around the same time venerable law-blogger Denise Howell announced she had been fired by Reed Smith, evidently for reasons related to her part-time status, this interesting article (sub. req.) appeared in the New York Law Journal:
Faced with sharp criticism from the state and county women’s bar groups, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice yesterday defended her decision to let go a dozen part-time women prosecutors unless they agree to work full-time….
All of the part-timers are mothers, although the D.A.’s office has said that some have older children….
Responding to the criticism, D.A. Rice “said two of the top three executive positions in her office are held by women, compared to none under her predecessor…. She also said seven of the 14 management positions in her office are held by women, compared to just two under Mr. Dillon.” On the issue of the part-time program:
“We’re dealing with life and death,” said Ms. Rice, who said full-time attorneys are better able to form the relationships with witnesses that are key to many trials.
“You can’t have part-time litigators,” said Ms. Rice, adding that some of her part-time lawyers have been allowed to leave trials at 2 p.m. while the judge and the defense are still in the courtroom.
Over the weekend the New York Times ran a follow-up article that gives more of Rice’s side of the story, and a letter from a reader appeared last week that basically says, “Having a child is a choice, so tough noogies.”