Preparation for maternity leave – Internal edition


During my career I have taken maternity leave at a law firm and in-house – and while the processes aren’t much different, it may be helpful for me to share a few tips, just in case. would be useful for others. As mentioned in a previous article, in my experience it’s less stressful internally but it will depend on your corporate culture and the size of your legal department.


Exactly when you disclose what you expect is obviously a personal decision. For me, I waited until at least after the first trimester (after 12 weeks), following the conventional wisdom that miscarriages are less likely after.

When I disclosed my pregnancy to my Deputy General Counsel, I also shared my estimated due date and how many days off I had planned to take so that she could plan properly. It might sound obvious, but I encourage you to familiarize yourself with company policy so that you know how much time you are allowed to take before this conversation. If you’re unsure, HR can be a great first step if you don’t have a coworker to ask.

During the disclosure meeting, I also committed to creating a document with the list of my active clients and projects to help facilitate a future discussion on coverage.


You might be more of a spreadsheet, but I typically use tables in Microsoft Word to create a document that reflects my current clients and projects for easy, at-a-glance reference. This is mainly for my Deputy General Counsel, but it is also a great reference for my colleagues who will cover me free of charge during my absence.

The information you provide will likely vary depending on how your work is broken down, but there are some “fields” or data points that you may want to include:

  • Client or project name
  • The description
  • Current status at transfer
  • Deadlines, if applicable
  • Who will cover while you are away (this can be decided later if you don’t know)
  • Speakers and their contact details
  • Confirmation that the customer has been contacted (essentially yes or no for your follow-up)
  • Where relevant documents are stored and links (be it Document Management System, SharePoint, OneDrive, etc.)
  • Reference documents
  • Miscellaneous Notes


Depending on your organization, your manager can decide who will replace you or you can ask your colleagues directly. Personally, I find it less embarrassing to have a conversation with your manager and let him decide and communicate it to your colleagues. Let’s be clear: I have great colleagues who have and would replace me if asked, regardless of their workload, but your manager can have a more complete view of their workload and can ensure a more equitable distribution. work.

You should also communicate with your clients and stakeholders so that they know who to contact in your absence. The way you proceed may vary, but I like to personally notify my clients on a call or meeting and let them know that I will set up a introductory call (if they don’t know my colleague) or that I will follow up by e-mail. Depending on the complexity of the project, I can give six to eight weeks notice. But, most of the time, I let my clients know about a month later, give them a two week reminder, and then let them know my last day at the office.

None of this advice is universal or rocket science. At the same time, I hope they give you an idea of ​​some things to consider and make it less intimidating, especially if it’s your first time.

Meyling “Mey” Ly Ortiz is an intern at Toyota Motor North America. His passions include mentoring, membership advocacy and a personal blog: At home, you can find her doing her best to be a “fun” mom to a toddler and preschooler and chasing her best on her Peloton. You can follow her on LinkedIn ( And you knew it was going to happen: her opinions are hers alone.


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