We just closed our survey on parental leave continuance rules and there were 41 responses.
We will continue to look into whether this is something that we should work on, as Florida has recently done.
Here are a few examples of the written responses we received:
"I would support the rule only if it is gender-neutral and applies to adoptive families as well."
"Often clients lives are in the balance and they should not have to put their case on hold for their attorney's family leave... If they are agreeable to pushing a hearing or trial out until their attorney's return from leave, fine, but many do not want further delays."
"...getting continuances was not a problem for me and most people were understanding... For me, the rule would not have been necessary but I recognize my experience may not have been the norm and would be supportive of any rules that make having children and being a lawyer easier."
"When I had my children, the Courts didn't really seem to give much weight to the fact that cases would need to work around maternity leave. ...I was told that my schedule would not be taken into consideration. Also, new moms who are nursing are not given breaks to allow for pumping during lengthy trials that is an issue as well."
"...when I was pregnant...I alerted the court to the potential conflict...and the court responded that the Order said "No Further Continuances" (my client had never requested a continuance) and literally said on the Order that my client can find new counsel."
"I have personally had my maternity leave interrupted and felt as if the court would receive my being on maternity leave as invalid reason to change the matter's schedule."
"Cases are continued all the time for lesser reasons."
"I know many attorneys who were back in the courtroom days after giving birth, which is not good for anyone."
"I believe this can bring unwanted attention to the fact a child is being added to my family. I also do not want my opposings to have another reason to discount the mom in the court room and label me as such."
Do you think New Hampshire courts should adopt a policy of granting three-month continuances in cases where the lead counsel is planning to add a child to their family?