ABA President Laurel Bellows says “Talking about work-life balance is fraud.” Does she have it right?
American Bar Association president and 35-year litigation veteran Laurel Bellows was interviewed recently by Chicago Grid. In the interview, Bellows talks about finding clients in unlikely places (like the women’s restroom), but she focuses on work-life balance. Her take? “Talking about work-life balance is fraud.”
You can watch the interview with Bellows on Chicago Grid. Bellows’ take on work-life balance, and re-entering the profession after time off, has created some buzz in the legal world.
What do you think? Is Bellows right? Are things different for the newest generation of lawyers?
3 thoughts on “Your Turn: Is work-life balance a myth?”
Yup, myth. Wanna make piles of dough as a lawyer? No problem! Marry your job — forget your partner/spouse/family and kids. Get fat and slowly unhealthy, maybe get into an extramarital affair and wed the hot new associate, learn how to bill more than 24 billable hours in a day like Mike Patterson, then die a hated rat bastard. Simple.
If your goal is to be senior partner at biglaw – and/or ABA president – then you give up some things. That’s a choice, not a fraud, and affects both men and women. The majority of our profession work as solos or in small firms, where life can have a happy balance.
Barbara A. Peterson
Law schools should tell young women that a legal career is like a professor’s: you can’t just leave the track for whatever reason (babies, safari’s sebatticals, etc) and laterally come back to where you left off and expect tenure. Part-time legal work is far more available than it was in my day (1980’s with little ones) but everyone just assumes your mind goes to mush and it’s quite a heavy penalty to be a stay-at-home mom. Quite a switch from being top-notch at a top-flight firm to becoming almost invisible. Nursing and teaching professions welcome their women who take time off back with open arms, for we lawyers, it’s a suicide mission to leave. What a shame and so unnecessary!!As a final note, young lady lawyers, be very careful about putting all the financial power in your working spouse’s hands while you “stay home”. It’s quite a vulnerable spot to be in if you have stayed home but unfortunately get divorced. You are all of a sudden the “displaced homemaker” we all learned about in family law class. Keep your credit up and plan for the worst if you choose to take some time off for your kids, you are a sitting duck in what can often become a nasty family court experience. Hope this wasn’t too negative, just realistic.
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