It isn’t easy to balance motherhood and work, but attorney Christine Liu McLaughlin of Godfrey & Kahn SC has done so since joining the firm in 2000.
“I was eight months pregnant with my first child when I started,” she said. “So, they really took a risk on me, considering I had the baby three weeks later.”
Since then, McLaughlin has had two more children and tried to be an example of how to maintain a successful work-life balance. As a shareholder in the firm’s Labor & Employment Law Practice Group in Milwaukee, McLaughlin specializes in employee transition matters in complex businesses transactions.
In 2008, she joined the steering committee of Godfrey & Kahn’s Women’s Leadership Forum, which is an outlet for female lawyers to internally share and learn from each other ways to maintain that balance. The forum encourages leadership opportunities for women at the firm.
“I think that’s an important message,” McLaughlin said.
The forum is a part of the firm’s Diversity Committee, which McLaughlin, whose heritage is Brazilian and Chinese, is also on.
Fellow WLF steering committee member Maria Kreiter said she admires McLaughlin for her accomplishments both as an attorney and a woman.
“Christine is such an inspiration and the spark that makes the forum worthwhile,” said Kreiter, an attorney in the firm’s litigation group. “She is a big reason why it works.”
McLaughlin said the primary benefit of her involvement with the WLF is seeing young female associates grow into successful lawyers.
“To open up those doors, make those opportunities available, is a big deal,” she said “You have got to work at it because it is not something that just happens.”
Often firms tend to lose female lawyers at the peak of their careers, she said, because they struggle with balancing family life and the demands of being an attorney.
McLaughlin is doing her part to help other women realize they can do it all, part of which is showing them by example.
“Having done it, it can be fulfilling, which is not to say it’s easy,” she said. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQ-jIzAXiv4