Work-Life Balance: Raising a Family and Being a Lawyer

By John Witherspoon, Harrang Long et al

Whenever I attempt any handiwork around the house, my wife, who is also a full-time attorney, usually takes one look at the bungled project and turns to say "It's sure a good thing that you're a lawyer." Assembling furniture, including our expected baby's crib last weekend, is about the limit of my expertise, and that goes best when I follow the directions in the manual.

When our baby is born (due on May 5th), my guess is that I will not be the first parent to ask where to get the manual. Where, specifically, is the part about how to juggle our two careers with raising our growing family?

Even if I ignore the directions, I can usually figure out from the picture on the box how to puzzle the pieces of furniture together. It takes some trial and error, but in my experience most mistakes are recoverable with a little elbow grease and creativity. There are few things that persistence and stupidity cannot overcome.

Until someone does start handing manuals out for kids, it would be good to know at least what different pieces of the puzzle look like for maintaining a positive work-life balance. How many hours do each of us want to work? How much time do we want our baby around a parent? What are our long-term workplace goals, and how would they be affected by our family plans? What other aspects of our work-life will be affected by having a baby, and vice versa?

The YLS will be hosting a CLE targeted to lawyers with (or expecting) young families to help discuss these questions and others on April 22 at 1:30 p.m. at Kells Irish Pub. The CLE will have speakers with both personal experience and professional insight into this aspect of a work-life balance, to examine the changes and what can be done from the perspective of each spouse.

There may not be much hope for me as a carpenter, but I do expect that by examining the different aspects our work and family lives together, my wife and I will end up with what is best for us and our child.