7.18.2006

The Challenge of the Work/Life/Family Balance

A prominent blogger, Denise Howell, of Bag and Baggage recently posted a thoughtful and detailed post about her departure from Big Law and her plans to find a better work/life/family balance. (Hat tip: Evan Shaeffer's Legal Underground). She explains that:
Instead of shoehorning my most important job — being a mom — into the discrete chunks of time can be wrested away from the demands of being even a part time lawyer at one of the world's biggest firms, my professional roadmap henceforth will involve only things that are washed through a stringent "how much do I really love that?" filter, and can be comfortably accomplished in the limited, catch-as-catch-can hunks of time that fall serendipitously out of the sky during the course of my other "duties."
She also discusses her belief that there is a trend toward parents, both men and women, wanting to be more involved in their children's lives:
Though Kristin seems to think there is a trend afoot away from active parenting, my own experiences and observations lead me to disagree; I think exactly the opposite is true. However, and certainly in the case of parents who seek to maintain their engagement and investment in careers that represent the sum total of the education and training that has occupied their adult lives, the danger of falling into the trap of relegating, delegating, and too often abdicating the parenting role is all too real. While I know countless lawyers who have done this, and I continue to see people do it, what I more commonly see and hear today (and what undeniably is true in my case) is that people — men and women — are no longer content to adopt such an approach and philosophy; they increasingly discern that the consequences are too dear and potentially too dire.
I'm in complete agreement with her on that point and have found that to be the case. I, and many other professionals that I know have struggled with these very issues on a daily basis since the birth of our children.

Denise has some interesting and thoughtful ideas regarding the issues of the retention of talented parents at Big Law. The latter half of her post discusses a number of proposals in that regard, including the creation of a new position in law firms, a Chief Work-Life Balance Officer, that would act as a liaison of sorts between those on a non-traditional course and the law firm.

She raises some good points and offers creative solutions to pressing issues facing law firms and other professions as many professionals entering the work force appear to be recognizing the importance of balancing work and family and actively seek out solutions that work for them.

I wish her luck as she seeks out balance in her life.

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