By: Jason E Lau
It is no mystery that the typical day of work for a lawyer is laden with long hours, sleepless nights, and unrelenting amounts of stress. Although lawyer’s work often consumes his or her life, overshadowing both personal and family time, there needs to be a balance between the work and life to create a work-life.
The successful convergence of a lawyer’s work-life comes from two sources: an individual lawyer’s introspective and philosophy and from the externals environment of the firm.
The Lawyer’s Work-Life
Jatrine Bentsi-Enchill, founder and director of Esq. Development Institution, points out that the key ingredient to work-life balance for an individual lawyer is accomplishment and enjoyment. It is important to create positive outputs in a lawyer’s work-life
There are various tips and steps that one can take towards a work balance life:
- Create time blocks for yourself
- Determine values and priorities
- Make realistic expectations
- Stay organized
These points also relate to the importance of efficient time management. Derek LaCroix, director of Lawyer’s Assistance Program of British Columbia, emphasizes long-term solutions. The secret is to align one’s work schedule with their personal values, to create both value and pleasure in work.
The Firm’s Work-Life
Another problem stems from the workplace, the mentality and goals of the firm. One undeniable truth of the firm is that their main priority and goal is to make money. The firm expects demands their lawyers’ to provide quality, timely and perfect work.
Firms understand the importance that a balanced work-life will have on performance and have tried to address this issue with “firm generated” solutions, such as:
- Alternate work weeks
- Provision of mobile technology
- Access to child-care facilities
These firm generated solutions do not work. The problem is that these solutions either provide short-term gains or are short lived. These so-called ‘solutions’ further segregate a lawyer’s work and life, rather than integrate them.
Firms need to realize there needs to be a unison between work and life in which they are able to work together with their lawyers to create a cohesive solution and environment in which the two can merge and become simply work-life.
Both the firm and their lawyers should discuss what their goals are and craft programs and set up systems that address the root of the problem and provide lasting solutions.
It is important to integrate a lawyer’s goals of an accomplished and enjoyable work-life with that of a firm’s desire for quality and timely work. This harmony will effectively create a long-lasting and sustainable solution for both the firm and the lawyer’s work-life.
“My Clio Day” Video, which won an honourable mention in the “Clioday” the contest, is below: