One of the hardest things to watch is a talented lawyer walk away from the practice. Too often I have seen top-notch attorneys leave because they struggle to find a middle ground between a healthy personal life and a fulfilling legal career. I get it. About 10 years after graduating from law school, I started questioning my own career path.
My wife and I just welcomed our first child and I realized I was having a hard time spending enough time with my son and meeting the demands of my legal practice. This struggle, and the action I took to resolve this problem, led me to develop some tips on how to achieve a good balance between home life and office priorities.
I found a couple of mentors who seemed to have a good work/life balance. They counseled me to make sure I spent enough time with my family. Obviously, my legal work needed to get done on a timely basis, but they emphasized that kids grow up quickly and my son would be off to college in the blink of an eye. And they were right.
I also talked this over with my wife. She, too, had a busy career and needed to find the right balance between work and life. Through our conversation over this desire, we came up with a solution. We planned to have dinner out with each other once per week to continue our time together. For our own personal time, we decided each of us would try to take an hour or two on the weekends to do something we really liked. We covered each other, taking care of our son alone while the other was out recharging the batteries, figuratively. My wife started going on long walks and I tried to play 9 holes of golf each weekend. We couldn’t always make this work, but it we were able to do so most of the time.
When it came to preventing burnout in the office, my mentors stressed the importance of delegating at the office. I was guilty of thinking that I had to do everything myself. They urged me to get younger lawyers more involved in my matters. It took some time, but I soon came to realize that this was healthy for me and it opened up opportunities for the younger lawyers. This is when I started mentoring and coaching lawyers. It became a passion for me, something that I continue to enjoy today.
If you want to learn more about how I struck a good work/life balance, please check out my Online Rainmaker Program and learn what this CLE-credit course can do to help you find that balance.