Earlier this week, we noted the trials and tribulations of Biglaw partner whose request for a paternity leave continuance was denied three times by a Florida judge, despite the fact that a newly adopted judicial rule required such leave to be granted.
Alexander Fumagali — a partner at Lewis Brisbois who’s looking forward to the birth of his first child — was threatened with sanctions should be file a fourth motion for paternity leave. In a comment given to the Daily Business Review, he noted:
“If this ruling stands, then other lawyers will have to choose between being present for the birth of their child or giving up their client,” Fumagali, 36, said. “I’m the lead counsel and the client hired me specifically. I love being a lawyer, but more importantly, I want to be a good father and husband. And I don’t know how this is going to affect those duties, which are most important.”
As it turns out, with all the negative publicity surrounding the case, the judge has had a change of heart, and Fumagali will no longer need to decide between his client and the birth of his child. The Daily Business Review has the details:
“This case came up for reconsideration and given the circumstances relating to defense counsel’s need for parental leave; it is ordered and adjudged that the case is hereby continued,” Miami-Dade Circuit Judge David C. Miller ruled.
The case will now move ahead to non-binding arbitration, and the parties will have an extended time period in which to do so.
Congratulations to Alex Fumagali on winning his motion for paternity leave, and for standing up for all lawyers who may find themselves in a similar situation by shining a light on the issues surrounding parental leave within the court system. We’d also like to offer him an even bigger congratulations on the upcoming birth of his first child. If you thought motion practice was complicated, you ain’t seen nothing yet!
When a Judge Reconsiders: Good News for Lawyer Seeking ‘Paternity Leave’ [Daily Business Review]
Staci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.