Work/Life Balance? Enough is Enough

Enough is enough.
From today’s ABA Law Journal story: How Gen X Lawyers Can Bridge the Gap, Foster Work-Life Balance:

“The 30- and 40-year-olds who make up Generation X have an important new role in molding the younger Gen Y workers whose brush with the recession has turned them into Generation Comply.

That’s the assertion of Miami Herald columnist Cindy Krischer Goodman, who says Gen X supervisors can help bridge the gap between younger workers who grew up in a world where technology brought flexibility to work and the older Baby Boomers who require face time and sacrifices.”
At some point, you have to decide whether to cross the bridge or to burn it down.
As ScottGreenfield just twitted a moment ago:

BrianTannebaum, wryly adds,

JayFleischman also fondly remembers the early 90’s:
Want to know more? Read Stephanie West Allen’s “What Is It About 20-Somethings?” where she also cites Scott Greenfield’s post on this weekend’s New York Times Magazine article Why are so many people in their 20s taking so long to grow up?” You may also learn something after reading Brian Tannebaum’s post, “How’s Your Practice?“.

I have practiced law nearly 18 years. During this time, like many Baby Boomer and Gen-X lawyers,  I have witnessed economic recessions, including the most recent global recession starting in 2008.  I have lived through the late 80’s real estate market crash and late 90’s Dot-com bubble burst.

This is the reality. The capitalist economy is based upon cycles: boom then bust. Bust then boom. Sometimes it’s a softer ride.
Those who practice law are in the “service industry”. Let me repeat this again. Lawyers provide a professional service. For those who do not understand what this means, allow me to elaborate.
We represent clients. Some clients have money. Other clients don’t. Some client had money, but lost it. Others want to make money. In every case, unless you are a criminal defence lawyer or human rights lawyer (and even then your client may be facing forfeiture, bankruptcy, seizure of assets, etc.), you are representing clients who are either seeking compensation for losses, avoiding judgment,  or trying to contribute to the economy.
Clients expect results. Clients do not care about work/life balance. Their lives are out of balance. That’s why they are retaining you.
You want work/life balance? Who cares? Your potential client is calling you because they were just fired. You want an extended vacation to travel Europe? Shut the hell up. Your client needs to know if you will be filing that motion to vary spousal and child support next week. You don’t think it’s fair that a partner has asked you to work over the weekend to prepare that emergency injunction motion? Tough break. Your client’s bank is about to pull your client’s line of credit unless you win.
Why is it that only the legal profession seems preoccupied with achieving “work/life balance”? The practice of law is not a road to riches. The practice of law is not the path to nirvana. It is a profession. If you want to achieve “work/life balance”, try picking some winning numbers for next week’s lottery. Better yet, invent a better mousetrap, hire a patent lawyer, become filthy rich and then you will achieve psycho-economic equipoise. Until then, put that Starbucks coffee down. Coffee is for closers.

One Response to “Work/Life Balance? Enough is Enough”

  1. Stephanie Says:

    Good post, Antonin. I am behind in my blog reading so am a bit late to this.

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