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Work-life balance

I always hated that phrase.

Back when I started, I was convinced that there was no such thing as work-life balance and, if such a mythological creature existed, it should be heavily weighted in favor of work. I would see lectures on the topic at AAJ seminars, but I never went to one, choosing instead something about evidence, trial strategies, technology or preemption.

Even for a new lawyer, life must move forward. The dating turned into marriage, and consideration of my other half was clearly important. I could work late many nights, but not every night. Indeed, I didn’t want to work late every night.

Once kids entered the picture, it was even more important to spend time at home.

I can truly appreciate the difficulty working parents have — if I don’t leave Columbia at 5:00 p.m., I can’t make it home before Baby T. goes to bed at 6:00. Spending time with her and her baby sister is the most important thing in my life, right now.

The result is that I continue to get into the office early every day. Now, I spend a portion of my Sundays in the office, and I work from home even more than before. I can only remember two days where I did not bring my bag home from work.

I went to the library last week and checked out a book for fun. It still lies unopened on my desk at home.  I’ll probably never crack it open for more than a couple of minutes because the mountain of work, which continually moves upward, creates a corresponding mountain of guilt whenever I try to do something else for fun (though, I did manage to watch the new episode of Doctor Who on Saturday. Wow. ).

The “balance” is a continual work in progress.  I doubt that many of us ever achieve true equilibrium. For example, this is going to be a particularly trying week — motions due, hearings, new client interviews, and the de jure emergency du jore (seems like a new one every single day!).

Family will have to manage a little more without me, and I’ll have to manage a little more without them. But, I’ll make it up next week. Thanks to a loving wife and two terrific little girls.


  1. Maryland Esquire

    I’m curious about where you work. Are people without children allowed to have the same flex time schedule?

  2. To paraphrase Mike Royko: “If you can’t do your job and still have enough time to goof off, you obviously aren’t qualified for your job.”

    Not able to read a book? Or watch some TV? Really. Quit screwing around writing blogs. You’ve got the same 24 hours that we all have.

    And who puts their baby to bed at 6:00 pm. See, Talking Heads “Stay Up Late”.