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October 20, 2006

Work-life balance is a dumb-ass issue.

There's another good post touching on the "work-life" issue, this one by Julie Brown at Life at the Bar. I'm not an expert, but here's what I know and think about work-life balance for lawyers, especially junior ones:

1. Practicing law is hard and demanding--even for brilliant, diligent and accomplished people. I've said this before. No big deal.

2. If you wanted just a job, you got into the wrong line of work.

3. WLB is "your" problem--not mine. Each one of us creates our own quality of life as we learn to lawyer, keep lawyering and serve clients.

4. If you are a job-hunting student or young lawyer expecting my firm to support a regime of work-life harmony, please try another shop. Your problem. We are happy and well-rounded people who work our asses off. It frightens us and makes us angry that you would ever think practicing law could be easy in the beginning. People twice as smart and as hardworking as you paid huge dues to be able to call himself or herself a "lawyer". Go away.

5. Color me Midwestern. It's privilege to work. It's a privilege to practice law.

Posted by JD Hull at October 20, 2006 10:24 AM


I so appreciate the candor in your comments -- even though, as a work/life balance proponent, I'm not sure what to make of being favorably cited in a post with this title. I've heard of damned with faint praise, and I've heard of praised with faint damns, but this looks like damned feint praise... ;) Well done!

There's a lot more to the work/life balance conversation than meets the eye, and I'll look forward to your future comments on it. I continue to have the sense that we agree more than we disagree, though we do use different terms.

Posted by: Julie Fleming Brown at October 24, 2006 07:14 AM

Julie--Yours was a great post; and we do agree on a few things. FYI, I start with lawyering--but I do make room in all my and my firm's thinking for women and babies, my 2 favorite creatures on earth. I just think that lawyering has demands to do it right--and that people have lost sight of how hard and how rare it is to develop lawyers who keep doing it right. Every day I see mediocre and even bad and uninspired lawyering at firms from 1000 plus down to solos. I think it's getting worse, too. You have a great blog. Keep doing it. Dan

Posted by: Dan Hull at October 26, 2006 01:43 PM

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