Thank you all for your great comments on my post about family planning as a first year associate. They were really helpful! I don't feel so conflicted or concerned now.
The general consensus seemed to be:
1) don't wait too long
2) but get SOME experience in first (enough to make you employable/become a value to the firm)
3) find out my employer's policies re: maternity leave and whether the FLMA applies to them
4) try to cut down the commute
5) ultimately, do what you WANT
6) A lot of women are worrying about this issue too!
I think my plan will be to get a year under my belt before I'm in the situation where I have to take maternity leave. I honestly don't think I can wait 2 years though. Of course, you can't fully control babies- but it's nice knowing I have a plan either way.
Unfortunately I can't really move closer to work at this time because our home has negative equity right now (we bought before the big real estate bubble burst) and because of my husband's work. BUT there are plans in the works to get a faster ferry that may cut my commute in half- so awesome!
I always find it funny the ranges people consider to be a "mid-sized" firm. I always considered my firm of about 25 attorneys mid-sized because I previously worked in a two-attorney firm. But I've heard others, and previous commenters talk about "mid-sized" 300 attorney firms (thanks for the comment Lyn)! I guess in the world of international 500+ attorney firms, that is true. It still blows my mind that a firm can employ that many attorneys.
Thanks again everyone for your awesome advice!