Lori Mihalich-Levin / Louis Goodman – Transcript

Louis Goodman / Lori Mihalich-Levin – Transcript

Louis Goodman 00:07
In collaboration with the Alameda County Bar Association, this is Love Thy Lawyer, where we talk with members of the ABCA about their lives and legal careers. I’m Louis Goodman, the host of the LTL podcast. And yes, I’m a member of the Alameda County Bar Association. Today we welcome Lori Mihalich-Levin to the Alameda County Bar Association’s podcast. Lori is the founder and CEO of Mindful Return, headquartered in Washington, DC. The program is designed to facilitate the return of new parents to the workplace. She earned her JD at Georgetown, graduating cum laude and her BA at Princeton, graduating Phi Beta Kappa. Lori has worked at the biggest of big law firms, Dentons US, LLP and is currently the founding principal at the GME group advising clients on matters involving graduate medical education. Lori Mihalich-Levin, welcome to the Alameda County Bar Association and the Love Thy Lawyer podcast.

Lori Mihalich-Levin 01:21
Thank you so much for having me, Louis. It’s a true pleasure to be here with you today.

Louis Goodman 01:25
Where are you talking to us from right now?

Lori Mihalich-Levin 01:28
My home office and the wonderful non state of Washington DC. I do hope one day we’ll have statehood here, but that’s not in the cards yet.

Louis Goodman 01:28
I know a little bit about your practice, because I researched it and tried to set it up in the introduction, but I’m hoping you could tell us a little bit more specifically about what type of practice that you have right now and what sort of work you’re doing.

Lori Mihalich-Levin 01:55
Sure. So on the legal side of my life, and my professional world splits the Mindful Return world and the legal world. But on the legal side, I’m a Medicare reimbursement nerd, Louis, I live in DC, where there are a few of us around. And if I had to describe my practice, I’d say, first of all, most people know that the Medicare program cares for people who are 65 and older, right? But most people don’t know that the Medicare program kicks in over $14 billion dollars a year to train residents to become physicians, with the idea that there wouldn’t be enough people to care for the 65 and older crowd if we didn’t train enough doctors. And so I work with hospitals, teaching hospitals, health systems, on how their hospitals are reimbursed for training residents or graduate medical education, hence the name the GME group. It says practice that is like a centimeter wide and a million miles deep.

Louis Goodman 02:49
And it’s a law firm. Is that correct?

Lori Mihalich-Levin 02:51
That’s correct. Yes.

Louis Goodman 02:52
And how many attorneys work there?

Lori Mihalich-Levin 02:53
It is a solo attorney practice. And I have three physicians who consult with me as well. I have another lawyer who works with me from time to time on some contractual issues. So we have a team of folks who all sort of pair up with our different specialties that I am the only full time lawyer in that practice.

Louis Goodman 03:12
And how long have you been doing that practice?

Lori Mihalich-Levin 02:53
Well, I’ve been practicing Medicare reimbursement law since 2006, after I finished a clerkship, so going on 20 years, but I have had my own shingle for the past, somewhere between a year and a half and two years. Prior to that I was at Dentons.

Louis Goodman 03:32
Also tell us a little bit about the helping parents get back to work program.

Lori Mihalich-Levin 03:39
I had my two boys who are now ages 10 and 12 and in fourth and sixth grade, and I went back to work full time as a lawyer, I was doing health care policy work. And I basically went off the rails at that point and found it to be a very challenging transition from professional and very competent to what I was doing to working parent and juggling all that came with that. And I set out to find resources when I went back to work after having my boys that would help me with that transition like a class that I could take on how to become a working parent professional. And I came up very short, I found all sorts of snarky comments on the internet and advice that wasn’t particularly helpful. But I didn’t find high quality content or a way to connect with other working parents just like me. So I wound up developing this program called Mindful Return eight years ago, almost nine years ago, basically to support new parents with that transition back to work after having a baby. And I started working with just moms and then about a year and a half into the program, we started collaborating with employers and providing a program that they could use with their new parent employees and they said we need a program for dads too. So we expanded in support dads, and we now really support working parents all over the globe in helping them not only through the transition after parental leave, but also along the working parent journey. So I created what I wish had existed for myself when I was crying on the kitchen floor with two babies that felt like 85 babies.

Louis Goodman 05:12
So you really found a need and filled it?

Lori Mihalich-Levin 05:15
Absolutely, yeah, there was nothing out there that was helpful to me. And I said to my husband, who is an MBA more entrepreneur type, and I’m the lawyer risk averse type. I said, somebody needs to create this program that gets people together in a cohort, and they can all return together and go through a process together. And my dear husband said to me, well, what are you going to do about that? And the idea for Mindful Return was born.

Louis Goodman 05:39
Where are you from originally?

Lori Mihalich-Levin 05:41
I’m from outside of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, about two hours north of where I live now.

Louis Goodman 05:45
So did you go to high school there?

Lori Mihalich-Levin 05:47
I did.

Louis Goodman 05:47
What town? What high school?

Lori Mihalich-Levin 05:49
It was Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, I went to Cumberland Valley High School

Louis Goodman 05:53
And what sort of things to do there?

Lori Mihalich-Levin 05:55
I was very into playing the violin at that stage of my life, I went to county and district and regionals and all states and made National Orchestra and at some point, I thought I was going to go to music school and was pretty devoted to both studying and music.

Louis Goodman 06:11
You still play a little bit now?

Lori Mihalich-Levin 06:13
I do. My youngest son has expressed some interest in learning. So we’ve dabbled a little bit. I have a friend who plays cello and she and I get together and play duets occasionally. I used to play in different– I play at my synagogue like for a pickup orchestra occasionally.

Louis Goodman 06:33
After you graduated from high school and Mechanicsburg, you went to my home state of New Jersey to go to college at Princeton.

Lori Mihalich-Levin 06:45
And it’s also my husband’s home state. So there’s lots of Jersey love on the line here. Yes.

Louis Goodman 06:50
Well, there’s lots of comments about New Jersey, how much love there is, besides you and me and your husband, I can’t really speak to but what was the experience of Princeton like? I mean, it seems to me that you went from high school, then to one of the most competitive colleges in the world.

Lori Mihalich-Levin 07:10
It was life-changing, mind-blowing, perspective-altering. I was coming from this High School in Central Pennsylvania, where I mean, it wasn’t rural exactly but there was a cow pasture next to the high school to Princeton, which was just a world that I really hadn’t experienced previously. I don’t think anyone had gone there from my high school in about 15 years. And I mean, it was intellectually fascinating. I played in the symphony there. It was always exciting and a challenge and it definitely gave me opportunities I couldn’t have had otherwise.

Louis Goodman 07:46
Then you did fairly well there, didn’t you?

Lori Mihalich-Levin 07:49
I did. Yeah. I was in what’s now called the School of Public and International Affairs. It used to be referred to as the Woodrow Wilson School, and studied international policy and French and really had an amazing academic experience.

Louis Goodman 08:04
Before you went to law school, between Princeton and law school, you did some additional academic work, is that correct?

Lori Mihalich-Levin 08:14
Yes, I want a rotary fellowship to spend a year studying in Aix-en-Provence, France in the southern part of France at a political science school. And I’m glad I went that year, because that’s where I met my husband from New Jersey. I met him in France on September 11, 2001. So it was a very notable date. And glad I took that year over there.

Louis Goodman 08:34
Did you speak fluent French when you went over?

Lori Mihalich-Levin 08:36
More or less, I mean, I had studied French from ninth grade all the way through college, and I spent a summer living in a town called Colmar while I was at Princeton. So I had a summer experience. Because my French wasn’t quite university level, they did put me through, the Rotary Foundation essentially put me through a one-month intensive language program in a town called Tour, which they signed a lot of rotary scholars to, or they did at the time, for a month. So we had like a deep dive into nothing but French for a full month with the host family and intensive language classes to prepare you for attending actual university-level classes.

Louis Goodman 09:13
Well, as a former president of the local Rotary Club, I’m very sure you took advantage of that program.

Lori Mihalich-Levin 09:22

Louis Goodman 09:23
Between the time you graduated from college and the time you went to the French program, and then the time you went to Georgetown Law, did you take any time off academically or did you go straight through academically?

Lori Mihalich-Levin 09:37
Yeah, I went straight through from Princeton to Aix-en-Provence in France to Georgetown. In fact, I had applied to and gotten into Georgetown and then just deferred for a year so I could go spend the year in France. I mean, I will admit that I spent a lot less time doing academics while I was in France than I would have in the US, but I did go straight for that. Yes.

Louis Goodman 09:57
When was it that you first knew that you wanted to go to law school, when you first knew, I want to be a lawyer?

Lori Mihalich-Levin 10:05
I wrote a report in, I think sixth or seventh grade on what I wanted to do with my future. And I wrote a report on being a lawyer, but I spelled it incorrectly, I spelled at layer, L-A-Y-E-R. And so that stands out in my mind is like, I knew what I wanted, but I didn’t quite know how to get it right. But then in eighth grade, I was enticed by the whole medical profession. And then they went on tours of Hershey Medical Center, etc. And then after I realized that it was about blood and guts and science and math, that was when I decided I should go back to the original sort of lawyer plan. I love public policy. I love foreign languages. And for me, regulatory law is basically like translating a foreign language into English for my clients. So there’s a through line there that started pretty early.

Louis Goodman 10:50
Was there some reason you decided to go to Georgetown as opposed to any of the other wonderful law schools around?

Lori Mihalich-Levin 10:58
Yes, a couple of reasons. One, I fell madly in love with Washington, DC as a small child and really wanted to live here. And two: Georgetown has a wonderful clinical program, and specifically had a domestic violence clinic, I experienced a household where there was domestic violence growing up, and I was very passionate at the time about helping to represent victims of domestic violence. And so it was that particular clinic that drew me here, I did the clinic and had a chance to practice during the clinic in DC Superior Court on that issue. So that’s basically what drew me here in the first place.

Louis Goodman 11:36
Can you tell us a little bit about the history of your career you’ve had? I mean, really, just a storied career on paper and what that experience practicing in really big law was like.

Lori Mihalich-Levin 11:52
Yeah, I’ve come at it from a number of different angles. So after clerking for a year, I then started my legal practice as a baby lawyer in big law. And I started off at a Texas-based law firm called Vinson and Elkins and their DC office and had a really fantastic experience there and gravitated toward the Health Law Group, because I really liked the work that they were doing and the clients that they were representing the fact that it was sort of policy-based health care work. And so I had the junior associate experience, and the entire healthcare practice of that firm got bought by another firm, King and Spalding. And so I moved over to the other firms. So I had the experience of sort of moving from one form to another when it wasn’t my choice, but rather my group’s choice. And so I did that and was at King and Spalding for a while, and then I realized that it was 2008, it looked like health reform was likely. And I really wanted to be doing more policy-based work than I was at the firm. And so I decided to go try my hand at doing some policy work. And I left and went in house at the Association of American Medical Colleges for six years. And I said I would probably never ever go back to a law firm because I just wasn’t really happy about the billable hour world, etc. And I learned from that experience that one should never say that they will never do anything again, because I came to eat my words. So I spent six years doing policy work, which was so much fun. And then I went back to law firm world and went to Dentons, and came in as a partner on a 60% schedule. So I’ve had all sorts of different roles. And then the other 40%, I was running my program Mindful Return, which I started as a BB side business at night and on weekends when I was doing the health policy work.

Louis Goodman 13:40
You’re obviously very talented individual. You could do whatever you want. What is it about practicing law that keeps you practicing law?

Lori Mihalich-Levin 13:51
A couple of things. One, I am deeply committed to the mission that my clients are trying to work towards. So my favorite thing to do within this tiny niche of graduate medical education law is to help hospitals that are not training residents currently to become teaching hospitals, I feel very passionately that we need to have enough physicians in this country to care for the number of aging people. And right now, there are predicted massive physician shortages. And so anything I can do to help grow the pipeline, I’m happy to and excited to play a role in. There are some states where there’s a huge delta between the number of residents who are training and the number who are needed for the geographic area. Georgia, for example, is one where lots of hospitals are being encouraged to start training residents. So I’ve done a lot of work down there. So mission is definitely the one thing and then the other. I’ll be honest and say that like intellectual stimulation of it, and I feel as though I have this portfolio approach to career, where on the mindful return side, I’m an entrepreneur and I blog and I create groups and build communities. And on the law side I get to use the analytical reasoning and the regulatory deciphering and advocacy and sort of use different parts of my brain and of things that I like to do.

Louis Goodman 15:10
If a young person was just coming out of college, a place like Princeton, for example, would you recommend the law as a career?

Lori Mihalich-Levin 15:17
I’m pausing to reflect because I think it depends on the person. And I think they have to pause and think about whether it fits them well. Absolutely, I would recommend the path that I took, I would never go back and do it again. And I wouldn’t do law school as a reflexive move as a, oh, my gosh, I don’t know what to do so I should just go to law school. But in terms of a career, I think there are many wonderful things about the law that I would definitely commend to young people going up through the ranks.

Louis Goodman 15:46
How is actually practicing law meet or differed from your expectation?

Lori Mihalich-Levin 15:52
That’s a great question, Louis, I think it’s exceeded my expectations in terms of the types of meaningful relationships I’ve been able to form with clients and the impact that we’ve been able to see. I mean, I didn’t really imagine that I’d be able to work with a group of people and influence the government to change a rule that’s going to therefore be able to promote more doctors, and then I can see that faces of these residents who are being recruited. And like the direct impact wasn’t something I necessarily anticipated, I think, the billable hour world, and some of the institutional and structural challenges that are baked into that were surprising and not necessarily something I was ready to encounter. But there are structural sexism challenges built into law firm worlds, etc, that I wasn’t particularly aware of when I was in law school.

Louis Goodman 16:47
How about the business of practicing law? You run a law firm, where you presumably bill clients, and then you have this parent return program and you talked about that as an entrepreneurial enterprise. So I’m wondering if you could just kind of talk about the business of those endeavors and how that’s gone for you.

Lori Mihalich-Levin 17:13
Yeah, it’s funny, I think I was growing two businesses simultaneously, sort of without setting out to do that. But I started Mindful Return about nine years ago. And then about seven years ago, I left the trade association to go to the law firm and said, Oh, now that I’m a partner, that means I actually have to build a business here. So I was growing a business. In the legal side, I was growing a business on the other side. And I found it fun, I found it exhilarating, and I found it exhausting. And I think the one thing that I had no idea about what sometimes the long lead times between conversations and outcomes, right? I mean, it’s not like you have a conversation one day, and the next day you have work on your plate that might happen. Or it might be that three years later, they reach out to you and say, Hey, I have this project now. And it’s a matter of keeping in touch and building those relationships. I have greatly benefited from the partnership with my husband, who is an MBA type, who loves the business development, who wrote a book called Relationships To Infinity – The Art And Science of Keeping in Touch. And so we talk about this stuff, as a family all the time. Yeah, I mean, words like business model, and just revenue and all of the business type of go and upkeep of how one runs a business was something I was new to. But that, quite frankly, I found super exciting, and have enjoyed it more and more as I’ve gotten into it.

Louis Goodman 18:32
This is kind of a two part question. What do you think’s the best advice you’ve ever received? And what advice would you give to a young attorney starting out in practice?

Lori Mihalich-Levin 18:44
I’m going to just say the same thing to respond to both of those, which is comparison is the thief of joy. And it’s the Teddy Roosevelt quote, when you start comparing yourself to others, and what they’re doing, or when they’re advancing, or how they’re billing or whatever, that’s when I find myself going sideways. So staying true to yourself and your own goals and values, is I think what I would say to somebody young starting out in the profession, but also to my former self.

Louis Goodman 19:14
Do you think the legal system is fair?

Lori Mihalich-Levin 19:17
You said I was supposed to be positive on this podcast about the law and lawyers, but I do not believe that the legal system is inherently fair in our country.

Louis Goodman 19:26
Why not?

Lori Mihalich-Levin 19:27
I think that there are internal and external biases that are baked into the system in so many ways, whether through race, ethnicity, sex, I mean, law firms in themselves were created based on a system that relied on the work of one person than a couple of well the other person in a couple of stayed at home, right. So it’s often the man who was working and the woman who was staying at home and I mean, if we’re looking at the legal system, and not just one individual law or a case, I think that there are a lot of embedded issues that haven’t yet been resolved for example, dual-career working couples, we don’t have, we still have stigmas against fathers taking paternity leave in our workplaces. We’re not viewing everyone equally, when it comes to caregiving responsibilities. I think there’s a lot of inequality and unfairness that has been historical in our country for centuries, and probably 1000s of years that we haven’t eradicated yet.

Louis Goodman 20:41
How about in your own life, what is your family life been like? And how has practicing law fit into your family life? And how is your family life fit into your professional life?

Lori Mihalich-Levin 20:56
Yeah, so I’ll tell a story, my oldest son was in kindergarten, he was about five years old, and I was walking him to school one morning, and he looked up at me and he goes, Mommy, are boys allowed to be lawyers when they grow up? I just had to laugh and say, Oh, where did you get that idea? And then I looked around and realized that like all my mom friends were lawyers, he doesn’t really know any guys who are lawyers. And I just had to chuckle and there’s a part of me that was super proud that I could show him. Yes, in fact, women are lawyers. But there was a part of me that was sad, which was, I want you to think that you can grow up and be anything, and I don’t want you to feel limited in that regard. How have work in life integrated? I mean, my husband and I talk all the time about what’s going on in our business worlds and our legal worlds, at school I think I probably had the only preschooler in this country that who knew that residency education was paid for by the Medicare program. On a day to day basis I like to take the perspective that work and life enrich one another. And there’s a wonderful psychologist named Dr. Yael Schonbrun at Brown University who wrote a book called Work, Parent, Thrive on this subject. And she very much views the idea that although the two work and things that are not work can be viewed as being in tension with one another. We can also note that the work side really enriches the life side of things in life enriches work, I am absolutely a better parent because I have professional aspirations and obligations, and I do the work in the world that I do. And I am absolutely a better lawyer, I’m a better entrepreneur, because every day I pause, and I go do the things with my family, and then I come back to the work that I’m doing.

Louis Goodman 22:37
Speaking of pauses, what sort of recreational pursuits do you have that kind of get your mind off of practicing law?

Lori Mihalich-Levin 22:45
Yeah, great question. I have a yoga practice that I attend to every morning whenever I get up. I work out with the trainer once a week. Physical exercise is super important. I love hiking and national parks, my family took a cross-country National Parks trip, I will put a public service announcement and for anyone who has a fourth grader, in this country you have your fourth grader entitles you and your whole family to free access to all of the National Parks through a wonderful program that the National Park Service runs from September one through August 31 of the fourth grader’s year. And so we drove from DC to California and back on our National Parks trip when I had one 4th grader two years ago. And now we have another fourth grader. So we’re taking another trip this summer. So travel is very much on the list of fun things to do.

Louis Goodman 23:35
So you not only get medical students into medical school and get some of that paid for you, you get fourth graders into the national park system and get some of that paid for.

Lori Mihalich-Levin 23:47
But to be clear, not medical students, right, there’s medical school and then there’s residency. After they finish medical school, they’re still not done, right, then they got to go do their residency where they make some crazy small amount of money. But yes, yes, we get the fourth graders into the national parks too.

Louis Goodman 23:59
What mistakes do you think lawyers make?

Lori Mihalich-Levin 24:03
Not being upfront about their mistakes, not being transparent about when they don’t know things. monopolizing conversations, I think can happen often and not listening as well as lawyers might. I think sometimes we talk more than we ask questions, and we need to ask better questions.

Louis Goodman 24:20
Let’s say you came into some real money, three or four billion dollars.

Lori Mihalich-Levin 24:27
That’s a big sum there, Louis.

Louis Goodman 24:29
Well, I mean, it’s a lot of money for an individual. It’s a lot of money personally, it’s not really enough money to change the world. I mean, it’s a drop in the bucket in terms of what governments spent. But if you came into that kind of money personally, what if anything, would you do differently in your life?

Lori Mihalich-Levin 24:53
What would I do differently in my life? I mean, I would not hold off on doing some personal travels if I’m thinking of like, personal things.

Louis Goodman 25:03
Where would you go?

Lori Mihalich-Levin 25:03
Where would I go? Everywhere, Louis I’d go everywhere. I’d go all the places that haven’t been, I have high on my list to South Africa, Turkey, Australia, New Zealand, I’ve been a lot of places, but there’s still so many more that I would go explore. And with my family, I would pay for my kids college immediately. I’ll pay off the house, I’ll do those cleanup things. And I invest in organizations and in growing programs that support working parents is very much where my passion is, paid parental leave, I’d really work towards getting that passed.

Louis Goodman 25:41
Let’s say I had a magic wand there was one thing in the world, the legal world or otherwise, that you could change, what would that one thing be?

Lori Mihalich-Levin 25:50
Institutionalized racism.

Louis Goodman 25:52
Let’s say you got 60 seconds on the Super Bowl, Super Bowl ad, you got to have an opportunity to say whatever you wanted to an enormous audience, what would you want to say?
Lori Mihalich-Levin 26:06
You don’t have to go back to work after having a baby all by yourself and suffer, you can join with other people in a community who are all making the transition at the same time as you are, don’t do it alone, join hands with others, and we’ll support you through it, you can do this working parent thing.

Louis Goodman 26:24
I’m going to have a few more questions for you at the end of our discussion, but right now, what I would like to do is open it up to the other people who are on the call. Let’s start with Melanie Viola.

Melanie 26:39
Hi, Lori. My name is Melanie. I’m actually on maternity leave right now. And my boss actually recommended that I watched this today because it’s my first child and I am very, I’m feeling a lot of emotions. But the description of your talk today sounded good. And so my main question is, and I do want to look into your book, but I’m sorry, my baby is crying right now as we speak.

Lori Mihalich-Levin 27:09
Do not apologize. Yes.

Melanie 27:12
Just kind of like if there’s any tips you have for like a nursing mother, or if there’s any other communities you can recommend. Or for me, I’m local in the East Bay, California, or just any websites or anything like that.

Lori Mihalich-Levin 27:30
Wonderful. Congratulations on your little one, Melanie, that’s wonderful. I love hearing the voice there. And that’s not crying, that’s just talking so well, it’s all good. So I’d say a couple of things, as you are making this transition in your life from person working professional to working parent, remember that the return to work and the sort of integration into working parenthood is a process and not an event. So like, it’s okay, if it takes a whole year, it’s okay, if you feel all of the emotions that are coming up, they are completely normal. And we’ve gone through them before in terms of or whether other people have gone through them and we’re here to help you through this. In terms of nursing and pumping, I have a ton of thoughts, a couple of them are one to have really open and honest conversations with the people at your workplace who can help you get squared away, don’t feel hesitant about talking about breastfeeding at work, it is a normal human thing to do to have to eat. And that is what you were doing, is feeding your baby. Blocking times on a calendar, really helped me, I blocked three times a day like 9:30 to 10, 12:30 to 1 and 3:30 to 4 for a whole year. And that helped me to like maintain the nursing pumping rhythm. Also, here’s a tip that I didn’t get until much later, but the little white things called membranes on your pump, they need to be replaced every couple of months or the pumps lose suction.

I did not know this and went for like eight months and didn’t change the mountain and the pump wasn’t working very well. And somebody said, well, when’s the last time you changed the membranes? So I’d say, do that if you can, if you can transition your baby into child care while you’re not working yet that can be super helpful to sort of have a little bit of time and then a little more time and a little more time away from baby. And in terms of resources at mindful return, we run a cohort every other month. So we have one starting on May 8. That’s like all people who are all going back to work around the same time that you are, and it will be a way for you to connect with other people. We always have Californians who join their cohorts. We always talk about pumping and nursing and just all of the logistical things that new parents need to deal with. So love to support you through your own transition back and congrats on your baby, Melanie.

Melanie 29:46
Thank you so much.

Louis Goodman 29:47
Cynthia, do you have a comment or question for Lori? I will ask Cynthia’s question for her. How can lawyers returning from hiatus or other work benefit from your mindful return program? Can they?

Lori Mihalich-Levin 30:10
So Cynthia, I think you might be referring to people who maybe have taken a longer absence than just the parental leave. So we have courses for new moms and new dads who are coming back to work after parental leave. But then there are people who might be returning to work after a longer period of time. There are a lot of programs out there that can help with return ships and actually getting you back into the market, the job market with respect to the actual logistics and mindset around return. Mindful Return has a program called Mindful Return 201, which is for ‘experienced parents’, parents who have been around the block a few times, maybe you have toddlers or school aged children. And if you go to our website, mindfulreturn/201, you’ll be able to find out more about that, it’s all about four different topics, self-care, time management, community connections, and career development. So you can check out that program as well.

Louis Goodman 31:05
Thank you. Thanks, Cynthia, for putting your question in the chat. Greg Humphrey Bill, do you have a question or comment for Lori?

Greg 31:14
I just wanted to say thank you, Lori, it’s been very interesting to hear you speak today. And I was just interested a little bit if you had any opinion, as me, obviously, I don’t have to deal with the birth personally, but I’m kind of wondering, the support that maybe I should consider prior to the birth, that something that you’ve worked in is maybe even taking time off for a birth to kind of assist.

Lori Mihalich-Levin 31:46
Yeah, and are you expecting a child?

Greg 31:49
I am. Yes.

Lori Mihalich-Levin 31:52

Greg 31:53
Probably be in July. Thank you.

Lori Mihalich-Levin 31:53
Oh, wonderful. Well, you are absolutely right to ask the question. And to start thinking about what it is that you can do. There are a million things of course, that can be helpful. I don’t know that taking time off necessarily before birth is something I’d recommend. But if you are able to take time off after baby has arrived, often dual-career couples will stagger some of the parental leave maybe I don’t know if it’s possible, where you work to sort of split it up and do a week or two when baby arrives. And then some at the end after your partner has already gone back. That’s often a common arrangement. We have a working dad course in Mindful Return land that is specifically designed to help navigate and prepare conversations around taking a paternity leave and then integrating into the working dad life. The biggest thing that I would say, though, is to really think hard and talk a lot with your partner about the division of household labor and about the mental load that happens at home. Often couples are completely shocked after baby arrives at like how many millions of things have to be remembered. And those things often end up on mom’s plate as the default or ‘she-fault parent’, because they’re connected to baby and so they sort of fall to her. Those conversations need to happen again and again and again and be renegotiated, especially when she goes back to work, for example, and I would really commend to you, all the work of Eve Rodsky and her book Fair Play around these topics there. She also has a wonderful documentary that was put out by Reese Witherspoon’s group called Fair Play. It’s an hour and 15 minutes. And if there’s one piece of homework, I would give you, Gregory before this baby arrives in July, it’s for you and your partner to sit down and watch the Fair Play documentary together.

Greg 33:40
Well, thank you very much. I appreciate that. Absolutely. I will take a look.

Louis Goodman 33:44
Thanks, Greg. So Lori, I have a couple of more questions. First of all, how can we get in touch with you if someone wants to contact you about your program, about your practice, about getting residents into medical schools, I mean, any of the things that you do what is the best way to get in touch with you?

Lori Mihalich-Levin 34:11
Sure. So my website for Mindful Return is www.mindfulreturn.com. And you can reach out to me at Lori [email protected]. If you want me for the lawyer side of my world, I have a different email. It’s [email protected]. And I wrote a book called Back to Work After Baby, that you can find on Amazon and all the places where one finds books.

Louis Goodman 34:43
And I also assume that if one simply typed your name into Google, they will not find trouble finding you.

Lori Mihalich-Levin 34:51
And on all the social media sites we’ve got, on Instagram I do a Tuesday Tip for working parents @mindfulreturn and you can find me on LinkedIn and all those places too. Yes.

Louis Goodman 35:01
Lori is there anything that you want to talk about that we haven’t discussed, that we haven’t touched on, anything at all that you wanted to bring up?

Lori Mihalich-Levin 35:12
I guess, I just wanted to end with the idea that there’s a lot that employers can do to make the workplace more hospitable to new working parents. And working parents are an amazing investment. About two-thirds of all families that have two parents are dual-career working couples. So you’re finding working parents who are men and women and all different areas. And the one year following the birth of one’s child is the most neuroplastic your brain is and in the entire adult human experience. So you’re getting people whose brains are being rewired and who are building and developing skills through parenthood that make them amazing leaders. So I’d say if you’re an employer, there are a lot of free and not free ways that you can believe in and support and normalize that transition to working parenthood.

Louis Goodman 36:07
Lori Mihalich-Levin, thank you so much for joining us today at the Alameda County Bar Association and the Love Thy Lawyer podcast. It’s been a pleasure to talk to you.

Lori Mihalich-Levin 36:20
Thank you so much, Louis. This has been such a fun conversation for me too. Thanks for having me.

Louis Goodman 36:24
That’s it for today’s edition of Love Thy Lawyer in collaboration with the Alameda County Bar Association. Please visit the lovethylawyer.com website where you can find links to all of our episodes. Also, please visit the Alameda County Bar Association Website at ACBAnet.org, where you can find more information about our support of the legal profession, promoting excellence in the legal profession and facilitating equal access to justice.

Special thanks to ACBA president Pamela Ross and Criminal Justice Chair Annie Beles, staff members Cailin Dahlin, Sayeed Randall, Valerie Brown Lescroart and Hadassah Hayashi.

Thanks to Joel Katz for music, Bryan Matheson for technical support, Paul Robert for social media and Tracy Harvey. I’m Louis Goodman.

Lori Mihalich-Levin 37:32
What else? From time to time, Louis. I wish that I played more and one day when my children are off in college, I suspect that will be some of what I pick up. I just forgot the second part of your question.

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