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The Practice of Law and Quality of Life

published May 21, 2013

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Can you have it all when you have an omnivorous job? This article looks at some of the quality-of-life issues that lawyers wrestle with and how failing to strike a balance has, for an increasing number of lawyers, lead to dissatisfaction with their careers.
 
The Practice of Law and Quality of Life

Time and money, the endless trade-off. If you have much of one, you likely lack much of the other. Nowhere is this age-old dilemma more evident than in the practice of law.

As the profession has evolved into a business and legal problems have become more complex, the effort required to be a lawyer has increased dramatically. Twenty years ago, lawyers made a good living, were active in civic and charitable activities, and maintained personal lives. Now achieving any balance among those three competing interests is at best challenging and at worst prompting good lawyers to seek alternative careers.

Most of the negative consequences are seen in private practice. As the quest for clients has become more competitive, both associates and partners have suffered. Partners are expected to bill seven or eight hours per day and still find time to market their practices to existing and potential clients. This is not to mention attending partnership meetings, preparing client bills, recruiting new lawyers, evaluating associates, and planning and managing for the firm's future.

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