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Work-Life Balance: Is It Possible in BigLaw?

The ABA Journal blog and Above the Law recently commented on a departure memo from a young associate who decided to leave her job at a large law firm because she found it impossible to achieve a satisfying balance between her workload and her family life.

Following up on that discussion, the ABA Journal blog asked readers to write in describing their daily workday routine and whether they feel their individual routine is sustainable in the long term. The reader comments in response are interesting, instructive, and in some cases, discouraging.

As current law students plot the career course they will take after law graduation, whether a particular job will truly enable them to have significant family time and free time outside of work is an issue they should carefully consider. “BigLaw” firm jobs are prestigious and high-paying, but law students should be realistic about the heavy time commitment they require, over the long term. Students may want to seriously consider other kinds of jobs: small firm, medium firm, in house, solo practice, government work, or public interest are all kinds of jobs that often demand fewer billable hours than BigLaw firm jobs.

Students considering establishing a solo practice in a small town may be interested in a new book from the American Bar Association entitled Practicing Law in Small-Town America, by Richard L. Hermann. The book covers topics including: “What’s Different about Small-Towns?”; “How Small-Town America and Law Practice Has Changed”; “Small-Town Practitioner Profiles”; “Many Diverse Types of Practice”; “Where to Locate”; and “What to Do When You Get There.”

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One response to “Work-Life Balance: Is It Possible in BigLaw?

  1. As a 3L who also has a husband and small child, these “day in the life” of big firm lawyer stories are slightly depressing– but eye opening! I think the more knowledge that law students have will only help them make a more realistic and informed decision in choosing their career paths.

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