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Who Benefits From Work/Life Balance?

Lawyers love to discuss work/life balance -- that often-elusive pursuit of simultaneous personal and career satisfaction. Law schools stage workshops about it, law firms hype it in their recruitment materials, and lawyers write loads of articles and blog posts about it. But the conversation always seems to be all about us. As Steve Imparl observes at the JD Bliss blog, "[N]early everything I've read (and written) on the topic emphasizes the benefits of work-life balance for attorneys." Let's forget about ourselves, for a moment. What, Imparl wonders, does a more balanced life for the lawyer mean for the lawyer's client? He poses two questions:

  • Will living a more balanced life allow me to do better work for my clients?  If so, what are some of the potential benefits for clients?
  • If I don't live a reasonably balanced life, could my lack of balance harm my clients?  If so, how could clients be harmed?  What could I do to prevent such harm?

Imparl writes that he does not presume to have the answers, although he intends to pursue an inquiry into what he calls "a client-centered rationale for work-life balance." Yet it seems to me that simply in phrasing these questions, he has suggested the answers. With balance comes a more fulfilling personal life, more regular exercise and a broader range of activities and interests. With those come an improved outlook, new ideas and greater creativity. Can there be any doubt that work/life balance benefits not only the lawyer, but everyone with whom the lawyer is involved -- firm, family, friends and clients? My answer to Imparl's questions is "yes" to both: balance benefits clients and its absence hurts them. In other words, work/life balance is an all-around win-win-win-win.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on October 22, 2008 at 10:54 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

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