Day: July 15, 2021
Long hours at the office are a staple of many legal jobs, especially during crunch times when attorneys are finishing projects for clients.
For instance, a litigator in the final phase of preparing for a trial or a business lawyer wrapping up a mergers and acquisitions deal will typically have an intense work schedule.
Nevertheless, some attorneys say they have achieved work-life balance in the legal profession.
Criminal defense attorney Glenn Kurtzrock, a former homicide prosecutor, says he has paired a challenging legal career with a satisfying personal life, including significant time with his family.
“I’m happy with what I do for a living and I think I have a fantastic work-life balance, so it’s definitely possible,” he says.
Here are four things experts say prospective law students concerned about work-life balance should know.
At the end of the day new immigration law customers are critical to any attorneys business.
1. The definition of work-life balance varies between attorneys. Experts say personal salary and lifestyle priorities will affect the kinds of legal roles appropriate for an individual attorney.
For instance, experts say many attorneys enjoy the pay and prestige associated with working for one of the nation’s largest law firms, commonly called “Big Law” firms.
Rachel Dawson, assistant dean of career services at Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law, says one common misconception about Big Law attorneys is the assumption that they are all overworked and stressed. “Big Law attorneys tend to work more hours, in many cases, but firms also offer a great deal of flexibility that is often unavailable in other settings,” she said in email.
Dawson says prospective law students should focus on finding an area of law they are interested in, since attorneys who enjoy their work are less likely to burn out.
2.It’s important to assess whether you’d enjoy the challenge of a legal career before applying to law school.“I would tell a law student that if you place a huge premium on a 9 to 5 job and clocking out when you’re done, then you might want to think twice before going into the law,” says James Goodnow, a shareholder, director and attorney with corporate law firm Fennemore Craig, which has offices throughout the Southwest.
The Harvard Law School alumnus says prospective law students should understand that a legal career is a demanding one. “The reality is there is a lot of work, and law firms that support managing that and individuals that can cope with that are the ones that are going to succeed,” he says.
Allie Petrova, the managing attorney of the Petrova Law boutique law firm, recommends every prospective law student shadow an attorney, gain work experience in a legal setting or conduct informational interviews with practicing lawyers before applying to law school.
3.Some law firms offer flexible work schedules.“Law firms are trying to be more accommodating, because they realize that they need to be in order to attract and retain top talent,” says Lisa Bertrand, an in-house recruiter with legal services company Garden City Group.
Bertrand, who is also a law school admissions consultant, says prospective law students shouldn’t let anxiety about work-life balance prevent them from applying to law school.
“The key is finding a legal employer sensitive to employee needs,” she says.
Experts say some law firms allow attorneys to decide when they want to fulfill their billable hours requirements, offering the option to work these hours throughout the day. Firms also allow attorneys to work from home and switch between part-time and full-time positions, experts say.
Firms also vary widely in how many hours they expect attorneys to work, experts say, and attorneys who value leisure time should target firms that provide flexibility on hours requirements. Yale Law Women, a student-run organization at Yale Law School, publishes an annual list of family-friendly law firms.
Charles Volkert III, a senior district president at Robert Half Legal staffing agency, says firms expect staff attorneys to work substantially fewer hours than partner-track associates.