Erica Leatham, 33, tells a story that sums up the gap in perceptions between many older and younger women lawyers: Working as an associate at Holland & Knight a few years ago, she was expecting her first baby. The firm expressed general support for her maternity leave. But she remembers feeling pressure from some older women at the firm to take off as little time as possible.

They gave their advice quietly, unofficially. But the message was clear: “I was told to come back quickly,” says Leatham, still a bit bothered. “Don’t expect for everyone to wait.”

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