I love the first couple of weeks after January 1 – it is the time of year you get to see which resolutions are sticking for those who made them. Many lawyers I know were resolving to have work/life balance for 2019 and finding it hard to keep.
I will not pretend to have mastered work/life balance and will even say anyone who claims they have is a liar. I do however, have a few suggestions on how to work towards a balance as a lawyer:
1. Recognize our ethical obligations put our clients first. This may mean that you have to take on fewer clients in order to achieve balance and it may mean you need to narrow your area of practice so that you are at maximum competency without the need to keep up to date on all areas of law.
2. Use your clerks and assistants. Many young lawyers want to do all their own typing and leave their support staff bored and wanting to do work. Lawyers, we are not better at typing, binding and copying than our staff and most Law Clerks are quicker at searching government databases than we are.
3. Create a routine. The only “right” routine is one you will stick to. I personally now have one where I get up early, work at my home office, workout and then head into the office, discoveries or court. They key to sticking to my routine? Having a coffee maker ready to go in my home office.
4. Recognize you are not always going to be in balance and that is ok. If you throw in the towel because you didn’t achieve perfection you are undoing all the good steps you took to that high point.
Cheers to 2019 and continuing to aim for work/life balance!
Inga B. Andriessen JD