Work-life balance for lawyers has been called a fraud and some have approached it with a contrarian view, but with a two year (and counting) pandemic, many lawyers have learned valuable life lessons that will guide them forward in their lives and careers. Perhaps this pandemic, at least for some, has prompted a new analysis of what work-life balance for lawyers means.
“I am at the pinnacle of my profession. I lead a team of 70 people who provide civil legal assistance each year to more than 3,000 low-income and vulnerable residents of Queens, the most diverse borough of the largest city in America. I direct a cadre of talented managers who, in turn, supervise a dynamic, dedicated and determined team of lawyers and paralegals. Our work is interesting, highly relevant and intellectually challenging. I love my job, but in this current phase of the pandemic, I’ve realized that I can never go back to working the way I did before. From the time the pandemic hit in March 2020, I’ve been fortunate to have the ability to work from home in Brooklyn. In September 2021, my kids returned to school in person, and I’ve since had an ideal work environment….I now realize that I did not have a healthy work-life balance for most of my career. I was sleep-deprived, constantly moving from meeting to meeting, and was never able to reflect on what was and is most important to me as a human being. I need to protect myself from the exhaustion, burnout and cynicism that was building within me about my work. I need to save time for those moments in life with my friends and family that I will cherish at the end of the road. I will move forward with this perspective, grateful for it, fortunate about the privilege that I relied upon during the pandemic, and eager to pass this insight on to others.”