by Chip Gentry
“What if I am not successful?” “What if I am not very good at bringing in clients?” “What if I can’t handle the pressure?” Those and other questions are common. If you could remove fear from all of your decisions, how many more things would you try? In my opinion, when one decides to try the private practice of law, the opportunity for accomplishment is great. Is there fear? Absolutely. However, are there rewards that can add happiness and fulfillment in your life? No doubt about it. I believe there are 10 tips that will improve your ability to succeed in private practice. Here is the fourth tip:
4. HAVE A WORK/LIFE BALANCE. Each generation attempts to learn from the mistakes of the prior generation. I always considered myself “old school” for my age group, believing that working 6 to 7 days a week and 14 hour days on average was the way to get ahead. Well, that may be true on some level. However, there are only so many hours in the day, and putting in that type of time will certainly require sacrifices in other areas of your life. With that said, I also believe some folks go overboard with a utopic concept of “work/life balance.” In private practice, the concept of working 8-5, Monday through Friday, is simply not a realistic way to succeed. Valuable clients need results at all hours and days of the week. They count on their attorney to be looking out for their interests at all times. Opposing counsel will try and outwork you. Deadlines will be a constant driving source. My view on a practical “work/life” balance is to treat your private/social life as important as your professional life. Schedule everything important, and you will make time for everything important. The beauty of not having a time clock to punch in and out of, is that you can work variable hours and variable days. The flexibility and freedom is a true value. At times, your professional work will take center stage. At others, your private and social life will take center stage. Understanding that the balance is not a cookie cutter formula will lead to more success.