Hail to Moms on Their Day of Honor!

Mother's Day social media graphic 2024

When the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg started law school nearly 70 years ago, she was one of nine women in her class at Harvard. Even more remarkable, she was the mother of a 14-month-old daughter. Ginsburg said of raising children while in law school, “I felt each part of my life gave me respite from the other. Having Jane gave me a better sense of what life is,” as quoted in a 2017 interview in The Atlantic.

Mother’s Day is a perfect chance to celebrate the wisdom of our own law school student moms.

Texas Law’s Assistant Dean for Student Affairs Elizabeth Bangs appreciates the unique qualities that moms bring to the table. “Lawyer moms and law student moms are better lawyers because they are mothers, and better moms because they are lawyers,” she says.

Take a moment to meet four Texas Law students—including one graduating this weekend—who are artfully navigating their dual roles as mothers and law students. From caring for newborns to supporting college-age children, these moms are skilled multi-taskers: Noelle Files ’26, Hema Mullur ’25, Katherine Pitcher ’24, and Janelle (Nelly) Smith ’25.

Files and sons

Noelle Files ’26

Mother of Jacob (27), Adam (26), William (23), Christian (21), and Julius (18).

What inspired you to pursue a law degree?
After winning a debate in high school, I dreamed of becoming a lawyer. But at 18, I became pregnant with my first child and was not even able to finish high school, let alone pursue college or law school. By taking the long road to achieving my educational goals, my desire to pursue law resurfaced as my first son’s desire to pursue law also surfaced. (He just completed his first year at SMU Dedman School of Law.) It’s amazing to be able to pursue my law degree at the same time as my son—we both expect to graduate from law school in May 2026.

How has being a mother impacted your law school experience?
I did well in college while simultaneously having a household to manage and children to care for, but law school is much more demanding. Most of my five sons have moved out and are pursuing their careers or higher education—or both—but I still have two adult children at home. While having others to consider does impact my ability to fully focus on law, I would not have it any other way because my boys are also my companions and my cheering section!

What life lessons do you believe you are modeling for your children?
Starting motherhood as a teen, I practically grew up with my boys, so they have had front-row seats to all my successes and failures. Having home-schooled my boys while pursuing my education, I hope I modeled sacrificial love and diligence. And by watching me struggle through school as a nontraditional student, I believe I also have modeled my faith—that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

What advice would you provide to mothers who are in or are considering law school?
To all the mommas currently in law school, I would encourage them to take time every day to just be a momma. As law students, we are naturally driven and focused on success, which means there is a danger of failing to prioritize the ones we love, and we must not fail to prioritize our kiddos! To those considering law school, I would advise them to create a plan with their significant other, friend, or counselor to map out how they will tackle the demands of law school while making the time to be a good momma.

Muller family photo

Hema Mullur ’25

Mother of Veena (2)

How has being a mother impacted your law school experience?
Being fully present when I’m with my family is my top priority, and that forces me to focus and make the best use of my time when it comes to reading and completing assignments. Motherhood has also taught me how to give myself grace. If reading “Goodnight Moon” for the thousandth time means I don’t read a case quite as closely as usual, I will gladly cuddle my little one and do better the following week.

What life lesson do you believe you are modeling for your daughter?
I hope my daughter knows there isn’t just one path we’re meant to stay on our whole lives, and it could turn out that a detour was the right turn all along. The “right” time to do anything doesn’t exist, and goals don’t have an expiration date.

What advice would you provide to mothers who are in or are considering law school?
If you’re doubting whether you can do it, remember that motherhood equips you with a superhuman ability to multitask that will take you far in law school. The life experience you gain from being a parent will help you contextualize the law in a way you probably couldn’t before, and your perspective is both valuable and necessary in the classroom.

How has Texas Law and its faculty supported your law school journey?
Texas Law goes above and beyond to make sure parenting students thrive here. The Student Affairs Office and Registrar have been so helpful in making sure I get into classes that accommodate my child care needs, and professors are always understanding about the inevitable days I have to miss class to stay home with my daughter. I’m also so thankful for my classmates. Despite not being parents themselves, they never hesitate to share notes, catch me up, or look at cute baby pictures. I’m incredibly grateful to be a part of this law school community! 

Pitcher Mother's day image

Katherine Pitcher ’24

Mother of Alice (8 months)

What inspired you to pursue a law degree?
I came to law school with a passion for public service, and my daughter has only strengthened my commitment to that calling. I want to help make sure that the community and the country she grows up in are better than when I found them, and I’m excited to be able to use my legal career for that purpose. For her sake, I want to help build a society that protects the inherent dignity and worth of each individual human life.

How has being a mother impacted your law school experience?
Motherhood has shaped my time at Texas Law. My daughter reminds me every day that time does not stop while pursuing a legal education—three semesters ago, she was just a tiny heartbeat on an ultrasound screen, and by the time I graduate, she will be eight months old. She has become my No. 1 reason to find joy in the present while still working hard to prepare for the future, which has become something incredibly more meaningful to me now that it’s our future and not just mine.

What life lessons do you believe you are modeling for your daughter?
When I tell my daughter about how she was born while I was getting my law degree, I hope she can look back and see a mom who approached difficult challenges with resilient faith, endurance, and sacrificial love, like my mom demonstrated to me. It’s daunting to realize that as a mom raising a daughter, you are her first introduction to womanhood. I want her to see what it looks like to struggle and rise to the challenge and to also keep family and loved ones first. Most of all, I want to model what it looks like to be married to a man who deeply loves and respects his wife and is wholeheartedly invested in her success. I do hope my career in the law shows her firsthand that she is capable of achieving difficult and meaningful things. But even more than that, whatever she chooses to do, I hope she sees that the ultimate meaning comes from putting love into action by finding ways to serve and encourage those around her, especially by protecting those who can’t protect themselves.

What advice would you provide to mothers who are in or are considering law school?
You are capable of so much more than you think you are! This experience has stretched me past my limits many times and taught me so many valuable professional skills that I look forward to taking forward into my career. Lean on those around you who want to see you succeed and take things one step at a time.

Smith Mother's Day image

Janelle (Nelly) Smith ’25

Mother of Alorah (16)

What inspired you to pursue a law degree?
Before law school, I worked as a teacher. I realized then how much I loved advocating for my students, being in front of the room, and putting on a show. Being a teacher is comparable to being a litigator in many aspects. My experience teaching eighth-grade English is what inspired me to become a litigator.

How has being a mother impacted your law school experience?
Being a mother has helped me stay focused and push myself when things get hard. Knowing that I have someone who depends on me and who I set an example for motivates me and keeps me grounded.

What life lesson do you believe you are modeling for your daughter?
I show my daughter every day what hard work and determination look like. She has seen me work late many nights and, in many ways, replicates my work ethic. I hope that she continues to work hard and believes that anything in the world is possible as long as she is willing to work hard for it.

What advice would you provide to mothers who are in or are considering law school?
Use a calendar to plan each day. Make sure the calendar includes not only school and study time but also family time, including time to help your child do homework, time to attend after-school events, and time to make dinner. Also, be sure to include “you” time, such as time to go to the gym, time to meditate, and time just to be alone.

How has Texas Law and its faculty supported your law school journey?
Texas Law has been great. Faculty have been very supportive and have provided me with resources for parents. I am even in a group for parents who attend UT.

What are your career goals?
I am interested in working as a litigator, particularly in white-collar and internal investigations.

Support for Parenting Students

The University of Texas at Austin now has a designated support “liaison” for parenting students; parenting students are eligible for priority registration; and pregnant and parenting students are entitled to leaves of absence and accommodations beyond those required by federal law under Title IX.


Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Perspective That Comes With Motherhood,The Atlantic, Feb 06, 2017

Category: Feature Stories, Student Life