ABI Published Article: "There and Back Again: Perspectives on Practicing Law While Parenting"

American Bankruptcy Institute
December 2017 Journal
Chapter 8 Humor

By Joseph Boufadel

"At a recent outing of the Monday Night Lawyers Movie Club in Los Angeles, I bombarded the group with photographs of my daughter. As a proud new parent, I assumed that everyone would love to see pictures of my favorite (and only) “mini-me” daughter, Emma, with her big brown eyes and curly dark hair. What’s not to love? After enduring the onslaught of pictures and stories, J. Scott Bovitz1 of Bovitz & Spitzer retaliated.

Bovitz: Cute photos. You should write a Chapter 8 Humor article — you know, a personal-interest story about how becoming a parent has impacted your practice.

Boufadel: I’m not comfortable writing about myself.

Bovitz: Do it. Aren’t you a millennial? Talking about yourself should come easily. Plus, maybe at least a few readers of the ABI Journal will find it interesting and refreshing to hear a different perspective on being a parent today as a bankruptcy litigator.

I know what many of you are thinking: “Who wants to hear from only a millennial?”2 Good question. Luckily, I agree with you and recruited my mother-in-law, who kindly agreed to compare notes on her experiences parenting a bunch of millennials. Some of you probably know her as Lisa Hill Fenning, who has also been an ABI member since 1992. She was a bankruptcy judge in Los Angeles from 1985-2000, when she returned to practice to pay for college for my then-future wife, Danielle, and Danielle’s three siblings.3 Along the way, she found time to sit on the boards of ABI and NCBJ, handle a bunch of mega-cases, and do some other good bar stuff. And, from my personal perspective, her kids still managed to turn out OK (“OK” equals “terrific” if they are reading this).

What follows is a discussion about our experiences in practicing law and being a parent during the 1980s, 1990s and now, and how the tools available to attorneys have evolved since that time..."