How do Lawyers Have Family Time? 

How do lawyers have family time? Many people will tell you that they don’t, but what they may not be aware of is that most attorneys work long hours and rarely see their families. There are several reasons for this, such as the fact that women traditionally take on the role of domestic help in society. While paternity leave and working from home are becoming more common, women are remaining in the workforce. This means that working from home is not the only option for lawyers.

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Work/life balance 

Attorney work/life balance requires a conscious effort to achieve. While money is renewable, your attention, time, and energy are not. The first step to achieving a sustainable work/life balance is to accept this fact. A clear picture of how you spend your time is a powerful starting point. Next, make time for yourself and family events. Try new hobbies and take up a sport or hobby that makes you feel good. 

Childcare 

The question of whether lawyers have family time is often a recurrent concern, but one that is often overlooked. Having a solid client relationship is crucial for a work-life balance, and a strong family structure can help keep conflicts at bay. Working at home may also be an option, especially if you have children. However, even working from home may not always be a viable option. In such a case, a good balance between work and family life can be hard to maintain. 

Parental leave 

While attorneys generally agree that they need family time, many do not get the flexibility they need to manage their workload. While many Big Law firms offer flexible work schedules, many are rarely used. Working 2,000 hours a year to stay on track to become a partner or earn a massive year-end bonus has driven many to work long hours to get those benefits. Lawyers also have responsibilities outside of their practice. Working from home during the day can be a good solution to these issues. 

Working from home 

While working from home can increase work-life balance, there are some risks. In some cases, lawyers are tempted to work around the clock, blurring the line between home and work. Working at home reduces productivity and leaves the lawyer playing catch-up after leaving the office. It also increases the likelihood of burnout. Lawyers who work from home need to set boundaries to ensure family time is not interrupted by work. 

Stress levels 

While several factors contribute to high lawyer stress levels, many factors are preventable. The first step in addressing lawyer stress is to recognize and acknowledge the causes. In addition to identifying and addressing the cause, it is important to communicate feelings about stress to co-workers. One method of supporting lawyers is to develop strong law firm processes. Other methods include hiring paralegals and finding a mentor. Ultimately, lawyers need to take care of themselves to stay at their highest level of performance. 

Lack of diversity in the legal profession 

The legal profession has historically been white, male, and male. Because of the lack of diversity in the profession, women and minorities are often left out of networks that nurture leadership and collegial relationships. According to American Bar Association research, 62 percent of women of color and 60 percent of white women felt excluded from formal networking. Yet, networking is critical to establishing and maintaining client relationships. For this reason, the legal profession needs to diversify its membership and its practices.