Celebrating Mothers at Texas Law

Being a mother isn’t easy. Law school isn’t easy. Doing both at the same time takes a special kind of strength and perseverance. Today we honor mothers worldwide and at Texas Law, and what better way than to hear directly from them? Read Q&A’s with a few of our law students who are also mothers to learn about their experiences.

Terry Stolow ’20   

How has being a mother impacted your time at law school?

When I announced to my four teenage/twenty-something children that I had been accepted at UT Law, they were SO proud of me! I was actually able to join one of my daughters who will receive her B.A. in English this month from UT. It has impacted my family as I am not able to spend the amount of time with them, even on the phone, as I was before. Luckily, my husband has learned how to cook (really well) and my children are aware that sometimes an exam has to take precedence temporarily from family matters.

What inspired you to pursue a law degree?

My father was a lawyer and my older brother is a lawyer. Many years ago, while in high school, I worked in my dad’s office. I thought it would be great to join him and my brother and form a family firm. However, my love of classical music won out, and I played the viola in an orchestra (happily) for many years. In the back of my mind was the thought that I should really consider attending law school someday. Fortunately, I didn’t realize how hard preparing to take the LSAT and being a mom would be. I also had no conception of how hard going back to school would be. After the fact, we as moms always think, how was I able to do that? I am SO fortunate to have had an amazingly supportive family and the UT Law community to help me accomplish my dream.

What do you hope to do with your law degree after you graduate?

I will be working on the prosecutorial side of the law. In the words of Justice Sotomayor, “My job as a prosecutor is to do justice. And justice is served when a guilty man is convicted and an innocent man is not.”

Do you have any advice for other mothers who are in or are considering law school?

My advice to other mothers is to try to “be adaptable.” We may think that it is not the right time, and we will always feel some guilt that we should be doing more for our children. No one strikes a balance that is just right. Just do your best and that is all that anyone can ask.

Emily Bamesberger ’21

How has being a mother impacted your time at law school?

Being a mother has had a large influence on my time at Texas Law, understandably, I think! My 1L year was hectic—my kids were in two separate schools, and I had no control over my own schedule, making after-school pickup a nightmare. But at the same time, being a mother puts some necessary brakes on my studying. I literally can’t study every hour of the day, because I have other things I have to do. And I’m extremely grateful for that! It’s been really valuable to have a large part of my life focused on personal relationships and totally removed from academic stress.

What inspired you to pursue a law degree?

I was a stay-at-home parent before coming to law school, and I felt a little isolated and removed from the larger community. I felt—and still feel—that joining the legal profession would allow me to engage more in the world around me and to participate in a community of active and bright minds. My community here at Texas law has not disappointed me!

What do you hope to do with your law degree after you graduate?

After Texas Law, I look forward to working in litigation here in the Austin community I’ve been a part of for the last fifteen years.

Do you have any advice for other mothers who are in or are considering law school?

My advice to mothers who are entering law school is to remember how quickly the hard times pass. 1L is definitely tough, but it’s also finite. I also strongly recommend seeking out networking groups for women attorneys who are also mothers. These groups can be a great source of insight and support, and their members, being so invested in strengthening women’s place in the larger legal community, really want to connect with new lawyers.

Miatta Echetebu ’21

How has being a mother impacted your time at Texas Law? 

Being a mother has shaped every aspect of law school for me from how I plan my study time to how I plan my social life. I’m lucky to have a daughter like Adaora, because she is so full of life and love, making it easy to bring her to law school events and engage her with my friends and colleagues.

I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t super hard to balance it all. Most of my friends are able to stay at the law school late every night studying. When they go home, they can relax. My days are structured around Adaora’s schedule. I have to pick her up from preschool on time. When I get home, I go through her dinner, bath, and bedtime routines, leaving little extra time or energy for more schoolwork. I have to plan everything I do far enough in advance to secure babysitting. And many times I just have to say no to events or outings.

At the same time, being a mother is what motivates me every day to get up and be a law student. Sometimes, Adaora looks at me and says, “Mommy, I’m so proud of you,” and I’m reminded that the exhaustion and the sacrifices are worth the sweet reward of providing for my baby girl, setting a great example for her, and building a positive, successful life for us.

What inspired you to pursue a law degree?
My previous career in clinical-community psychology placed me in many settings where legal matters were at the forefront. Pursuing law seemed to allow me to take a more macro-level view of many of the issues I grappled with as a therapist and a researcher and would allow me to make an impact in the world in a new and exciting way. Having a deep understanding of the race and gender disparities in all aspects of the legal world, I wanted to be a part of contributing a Black female (and mother) image in a male-dominated legal world and to introduce a diversity of thought in spaces where people like me are not traditionally included.

What do you hope to do with your law degree after you graduate?
I’m planning to work in a big law firm with a transactional focus. I have a goal in this context of spearheading pro bono legal opportunities that assist and help expand minority-owned, female-owned, and felon-owned businesses to develop entrepreneurship opportunities and increase wealth within these disadvantaged groups.
 
Do you have any advice for other mothers who are in or are considering law school?
Find supportive friends that never make you feel like your child is a nuisance, even when s/he decides to throw a tantrum or demand a dance party in the middle of your study session. It’s always such a heartwarming and uplifting relief to see the smiles and positive attitudes of my friends, professors, and administration toward Adaora in all situations. It’s so easy as a mother to feel self-conscious or guilty about needing a little extra patience from others. Remember that the law school is your village, and your child is a fundamental part of that community who deserves just as much love and respect there as you do. Do not be apologetic about their presence.