Can Lawyers have a Work-Life Balance?
In the legal industry, it’s easy to feel the pressure of the everyday hustle and bustle. Law and similar service industries, such as real estate, are highly invested in their clients. The work culture portrayed by law firms on the exterior can be borderline destructive, displaying a lack of self-care, working long hours and constant “hustle.” We work hard to support our clients in their time of need – but if we don’t support ourselves, is the support we provide our clients the highest quality that it could be?
Over my years in legal services, I’ve learned to take the time needed for myself in order to better serve my clients. I spend the time doing the things I enjoy. For me, being surrounded in nature gives my brain the clarity it needs to come back and be there for my clients in the best way I know how. If you subscribe to our newsletter, you probably see a lot of my travel pictures – including the famous “Arman pose.” It might seem fun and silly, but in reality, it provides an unmatched level of mental clarity that I need to be a better man, family member, community member, and personal injury lawyer.
Ignore the Noise
It wasn’t until I was in my 40s that I had the confidence to shut out the noise of our industry. The noise of those internal thoughts is caused by the toxicity in our industry’s culture. Am I working hard enough? Do I deserve a vacation? What will my peers think? I took a step back and reframed those questions. Could I improve my health? Do I fit the mold of the “typical lawyer?” Is this good for me? I carefully considered those questions, and over time, the answers became clearer than ever.
I considered those questions not only when contemplating if I needed a vacation but in almost every aspect of my life. A consistent work-life balance is hard to come by in our industry – but it needs to be prioritized. To prevent burnout, improve personal and mental health and ultimately be better in our careers, regardless of practice area, we must stop pretending and pushing for this “hustle” culture and crazy work hours that no one truly benefits from.
As peers and professionals in the legal profession or even those in law school, I challenge you to find the confidence to shut out the noise. Find a balance that works for you and your personal life to feel better, stay healthy and still reach your goals. Trust me, it works. It’s a process of finding a happy medium and requires work to maintain, but if your clients rely on you, shouldn’t you invest in yourself?
Here are 4 ways to Get Started on a Positive Work-Life Balance
- Take mental breaks – Preferably before you feel as if you need them. Lawyers work a lot of hours – especially at a small firm. Take 5 minutes for yourself. Step away from your work environment and the chaos that our industry brings and take some personal time. Mental breaks are specific to the individual so do what works for you.
- Acknowledge your physical health – Mental and physical health go hand-in-hand. Take a step back to think about how your current physical health could be improved.
- Start small – This may be as simple as taking a lunch break that you normally push off because you’re “too busy.” Small steps, such as taking a lunch, getting up half an hour earlier and pausing notifications after a certain time, are all relatively minor tasks that can have a big benefit in the long run. You don’t need to overhaul your current life to begin working towards that healthy work-life balance.
- Find a rhythm – As you begin to think about initiatives (big or small) that can lead to an improved work-life balance, some trial and error may be required. Give it time and find what workflow works for you and your lifestyle.
Our team at Litner + Deganian are fierce advocates for our personal injury clients. We take the time to get to know each of our clients on a personal level and truly invest in the outcome of their case and their recovery. It’s hard work, but we love what we do. That’s why we work so hard to take care of ourselves – to take care of our clients who trust in us.