Balancing the Bar

Happiness and the Practice of Law


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Friday’s Weekly Gratitude Post – October 12, 2012

As I posted last week, I intend to post a list of things I am grateful for weekly. This is my first post and this week was a rocky one.  A lot of deadline pressure at the office, a broken a/c unit, preparation of my 2011 tax return, and well just way to much to do and not much time.   Doesn’t sound like there was much to be grateful for but in reality there were many things to be grateful for so here is a list:

My marriage – my husband celebrated 15 years of marriage on the 11th.  It is great to look back and think of how far we have come together and what a good friendship and marriage we have.

Volunteer activities –  I attended my first South West Ohio Mental Health Advocacy Coalition meeting.  It was my first meeting and I was the only attorney there.  It is interesting to view the issue of mental health with non attorneys it gives me perspective on the issues from a sociological perspective. And it is nice to try to find ways to bridge the divide between the legal community and the mental health community.

My partners and co-workers They help me stay balanced and are there to listen when I am having a bad days.  All lawyers need support.  One of the great things about being in a law firm is that you can find someone to commiserate with, to run something by or to share a funny story with.  Stress can be managed better with help.  It is something the legal community forgets.  We all have similar stresses and issues no one is an island.

Mental Health days – Today, I stayed home and took what I call a mental health day. The reasons were many but the core of my issue was need peace, quiet and calm to get a few things that were behind done. So, I stayed home used remote access and motored through a lot of work.  I called it a mental health day because I could spend the day with my cats, focusing on a few specific tasks and not get overwhelmed by work accumulating in my office.  I am always grateful for having a busy law practice, for having clients that depend on and value my work, but sometimes you have to change the scenery to be productive.   This means working when and where you can best focus.

Some great things to be grateful for.  A good week, a welcome celebration of my marriage and a less chaotic end to the week.  Now I am ready for a weekend of fun and relaxation.


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Email servant or attorney??

I sometimes wonder why it appears that I get so little done. Then, I started noticing the frequency and duration of my email correspondence and the mystery is solved.

Most days I receive return in excess of 50 emails and some days as many as 100.  No wonder my brain gets so tired.  It is as if I am doing nothing but email correspandance. Many days this can keep me from substantive work.

I have always pushed clients and other attorneys to use email in lieu of constant phone calls, but any more it is as if others view this as a way to not only get a response but to get it immediately

Just last week I notice people send emails more than once in a 4 hour period because I had not responded.   Have we gotten to the point where emails are considered  instant communication?  I ask you is this necessary? I have multiple clients all of which I strive to give the same level of service. If all of them are repetitively emailing me how can I practice law? The more they email me the less time I have to spend on whatever it is they are emailing me about. This is a vicious cycle.

I am struggling with a way to break this cycle.  Perhaps my deligence at reviewing and responding in a timely fashion is part of the issue.  I am thinking of instituting a new rule.  I am going to start picking up the phone or walking to soemone’s office if my email exchanges result in back and forth between myself and the other person.  I am also going to wait until the following day until I respond to any email received after 4 pm.   It remains to be seen if this will help.  I am sure there will be more blog entries about this.