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Being a Lawyer Leaves Little Time for Anything Else
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Being a Lawyer Leaves Little Time for Anything Else

Summary: With its demanding schedule and round the clock assignments, the practice of law can leave attorneys drained and exhausted. However, there are ways to take personal time that give attorneys much needed breaks.

Many feel that the practice of law is a glamorous career with a fat paycheck, but these people are mistaken, according to an article on First and foremost, the practice of law is extremely stressful. The job is inherently demanding as there are many deadlines to juggle, as well as long hours. Many attorneys find themselves canceling dinners and family events when emergencies arise at the office. The work never stops—their clients’ cases don’t simply “turn off” at 5:00 p.m.


Many firms have a hefty billable hour requirement, sometimes 50 hours per week. This means the attorney has to work at least 60 hours per week to meet the billable quota. Good-bye, vacation; hello, holiday working weekends. Because many attorneys practice for international clients, they must be available 24 hours a day. The Blackberrys and iPads constantly light up with notifications at all hours of the night, and many times, the attorney must respond. Often, tasks cannot wait until the next business day to be handled.

Since the practice of law is so mentally demanding and time-consuming, many attorneys have time for little else. In fact, many feel that they cannot even take a lunch break, and vacations are simply laughable. When there are billable hours to meet and partners to please, many attorneys are nervous to leave the office at all. Many offices imply that young attorneys should arrive before the partners and stay until the partners leave to put in “face time” at the office.

The American Bar Association’s website has a guide for achieving a work/life balance, since so many attorneys find themselves working morning, noon, and night. First, it’s a good idea to set boundaries and make yourself unavailable at certain times. The guide suggests getting rid of the smartphone for at least an hour each day so that more time can be spent on the attorney’s personal enjoyment.

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It’s important to communicate your boundaries to your office as well. If you’re going to be unavailable, let your firm know. It will be much easier for others to plan how to handle cases in your absence when they know about it in advance.

It’s also important to stay organized and keep track of your time so that you can plan ahead if you have a doctor’s appointment or will be out of the office for a day. Be sure you’re aware of what deadlines fall on each week and be sure to let others know as well so that assignments can be finalized in your absence, if necessary.

The life of an attorney is very demanding (and many may not call it a “life” at all), but by implementing these tools, perhaps attorneys will find more job satisfaction.

Attorneys looking for a job change for better job satisfaction can visit for the latest attorney openings.


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