My Clio Day – Law is Cool The law school blog and podcast from Canada Wed, 30 Sep 2015 13:10:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 1338880 A Balanced Life: Reality or Illusion? Mon, 23 Jun 2014 09:56:53 +0000 By George McLaren

You must have heard the clichés repeated many times over. “There’s no rest for the wicked, (or the righteous, for that matter),” depending on the degree of fondness ascribed to the subject. Or perhaps, “Time is money”. Still, another says, “No romance without finance”. My personal favourite goes something like this: “Life is hard, and then you die”. Looking beyond the ominous forecasts of doom which is common to these clichés, an identifiable theme arises which holds some semblance of truth. The common thread seems to indicate that although financial reward generally comes at the expense of time sacrificed, most will inevitably conclude that it is just not worth it.

Work: An Occupational Hazard
Lawyers are not the only professionals who experience time management conflicts Every professional with a demanding job will attest that there just aren’t enough hours in the day to remain on top of their game while meeting the demands of competing interests. And just in case you think juggling the demands of work and family responsibilities is the ultimate challenge for any professional, try adding other commitments to the mix like religious obligations, school and community involvement for a crazy concoction.

Religious Demands as a Competitor
My colleague belongs to a religious group that requires strict time adherence. The Sabbath, which is the observance of the seventh day of the week as holy time, plays an integral role in his religious belief. The Sabbath commences at the setting of the sun on Friday evening and ends at the same time on Saturday evening. No secular work or activities is allowed during these hours. Although Sabbath strictly means rest, he assures me that he gets less rest on Sabbaths and has fewer opportunities for family time during these hours than any other time during the remaining days of the week because he is actively involved in the church work. He effectively has six days each week to accomplish the secular stuff that most do in seven.

Something has to give
Yet another one of my colleagues is heavily involved in community development while he studies full time with a part time job. His balancing act is pretty good for the most part but he suffers fatigue from the sheer volume of hours he puts in each day He has become an absentee husband and father to his three year old, while still living at home.

What then?
There is no panacea to the dilemma; no quick fixes; no ‘one size fits all’. We must each make the best use of the tools relative to our individual circumstances If family ranks in priority to your other interests, consult family members on decisions that will affect the family unit and constantly evaluate whether your present course of action is yielding the desired results. Alternatively, decide earlier on whether work will trump all other interests and pursue your ambitions rigorously. No man can serve two masters. The balancing act may just be an illusion

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Is Work-Life Balance Attainable? Sun, 22 Jun 2014 14:55:59 +0000 By: Shannon O’Connor

work life

Maintaining a work-life balance has been difficult for numerous legal professionals. The question still remains: can a balance between work and life be attainable within contemporary society?

I believe that it is possible to achieve a balance between work and life. This balance ensures that an individual is able to complete work while doing the activities they love. It is quit a challenging endeavor and comes with multiple obstacles. Ultimately, this balance can be achieved through multiple avenues.

Guidelines for Achieving a Work-Life Balance:

• A work-life balance is more attainable if you run your own practice or essentially you are your own boss
• Rank your priorities in order of importance (family, health, self-actualization, and happiness etc.)
• Set your own goals and timelines
• When you discover what makes you content you will be able to find a way to maintain a balance between work and life
• Make time for your wants and needs
• It’s ok to say no you can’t be expected to do everything

Jatrine Bentsi-Enchill wrote an interesting article Cases and Chaos: Work-Life Balance Strategies for Busy Lawyers. The informative article is regarding the subject matter of work-life balance. The author noted numerous important tips; one important tip is creating time for oneself throughout the week. It essentially means making a date for oneself. I found this tip to be of utter importance. It enables an individual to have time to reflect, decompress, and focus on finding happiness.

Yamri Taddese wrote another enlightening article on the subject matter. Male lawyers join women in seeking work-life balance addresses men joining women’s quest for work-life balance. The author posted numerous tips on how to re-enter the work force, which are helpful and should be kept in mind. Additionally, the author points out that this struggle is not just found among women but also men. The pursuit for a work-life balance is clearly evident between both men and women.

Lastly, Wolf the author of The Tyranny of Performance elaborates upon how the word balance should be replaced with “enjoyment”. Less emphasis should be on “performance” and more focus and attention should be paid towards enjoying oneself and gaining an education.

I agree with all three authors and believe the recommended tips should be incorporated in order to achieve a work-life balance. It is important to reflect, and ask oneself: what would you do if you had free time?

Please find an attached video elaborating upon what I would do with an extra 8 hours a week: The Ultimate Clio Day

A Balanced Work-Life Mon, 16 Jun 2014 03:27:27 +0000 By Vicky Medeiros

The legal industry is extremely competitive; individuals dedicate hours of hard work and commitment to adhere to the occupational pressures. Thanks to television shows like Suits, the legal profession is portrayed as a glamour career, though realistically many individuals have to sacrifice much of their personal freedom to become successful legal professionals.

Many legal professionals struggle to balance their professional life with their personal life. So, who is responsible for one’s unbalanced work-life? According to Work-life balance up to lawyers, not firms, Stephen Mabey believes that you only have yourself to blame. Mabey states, “work-life balance is an individual’s decision not the firm’s”.

No one can make you happy other than yourself. It is important to evaluate one’s priorities and take the necessary steps to becoming a happier legal professional.

Though it is difficult to manage a demanding career choice and a personal life, it is not impossible. In Successfully Juggling Work and Family: Tips for Lawyers, Julie Stauffer illustrates “Six Tips for Balancing Work and Family”, which includes:

  • Being organized
  • Having a backup plan
  • Making use of technology
  • Encourage supportive partner and family relationships
  • Making time for yourself
  • Keeping realistic expectations

Work-life balance is based on the professional and personal choices one makes. Nicole Garton-Jones states in her article, The Myth of Work Life Balance in Law, “it will be up to individual lawyers themselves to decide what balance means to them and then make it happen”. It is up to the individual to change his or her path in life. Too many individuals sit back and expect his or her life to change without putting forth the effort.  In order to successfully balance a work-life, it is important to take the necessary steps in changing the dynamic of one’s professional career to incorporate the important element of one’s personal life.

Balance is the key to any lifestyle. Though diligence and perseverance is essential to a successful career, a balanced work-life is essential in attaining happiness.