Work/Life Balance

'Part-Time' Partner Works 9 Hours a Day

Virginia Seitz is living proof that women lawyers can do it all, balancing a high-powered career with a family life.

The Washington, D.C., appellate practitioner, 50, is a partner at Sidley Austin, yet leaves the office at 2:55 p.m. to pick up her two children from school, reports the New York Lawyer. Since she starts work at 6 a.m., that means she’s already put in nine hours at the office by that point in the day.

“Seitz is the firm’s Exhibit No. 1, proof to the world that women can work part time and still make partner,” writes New York Lawyer. “In fact, D.C. managing partner Carter Phillips brought Seitz to Sidley Austin in 1998 in part because he wanted more women and, in particular, women who were balancing motherhood and the law at the firm, Seitz says.”

A former U.S. Supreme Court clerk who was the first woman at Sidley to argue before the high court, Seitz loves her job and wouldn’t want to be a stay-at-home mom. Yet she admittedly worries over whether she is spending enough time with her children when she is immersed in a big case. Meanwhile, she believes her career suffers a bit, too, because of her focus on family. “If I had wanted an A-plus career, I wouldn’t do what I did,” she says. “I’m an A-minus attorney. But I’m an A mother.”

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