Not quite ready to start your own law firm? Make these changes to reduce the stress between your personal and professional responsibilities.
As an advocate of legal entrepreneurship, I’m a firm believer that anyone can start their own law firm. With some hard work and strategic planning, it IS possible. You have what it takes to start your own law firm (and I am here to support you along the way).
If you’re looking for more balance, but not quite ready to launch your law firm, you can still begin building the life you want. And while you do, I want you to keep dreaming and planning.
Here are five tips to find more work/life balance right now:
1) Look for a family friendly law firm.
We may be a minority in this industry, but we absolutely do exist! Look for firms with progressive and family friendly policies, like generous leave benefits and flexible schedules. Look for firms that are led by women.
The more women-led law firms we create, the more opportunities will exist for attorneys who want to be part of a family friendly team, but not necessarily drive the bus.
At my firm, Airington Law, we support the health and well-being of all of our team members…because it’s not enough to build something for ourselves without paying it forward. The more we acknowledge the need for family friendly firms, the better chance we have of instituting change within the industry. (Good advice for any industry, really.)
2) Choose a different practice area.
Some practice areas offer more flexibility than others! Practice areas with frequent court appearances and tight deadlines can be more difficult to balance. At my firm, we successfully manage a litigation practice in a balanced way by having a large team, efficient systems, and by using the right technology.
If that’s not your thing, begin to pivot to a practice area without those demands. For example, immigration law and estate planning don’t require as much court time, leaving you free to develop a more predictable work schedule (and, in turn, a better home schedule, too).
If you love your practice area, but not the schedule, develop a niche within the area. For example, if you’re a family lawyer looking to reduce those emergency hearings and late-night calls, transition from contested divorce to mediation, or build a speciality in prenuptial agreements.
3) Make use of early mornings.
We’ve all heard the old adage, “the early bird catches the worm.” I do some of my best work before anyone else wakes up—when it’s just me, my coffee, and my laptop! I happen to be very productive at this time, but I recognize that not everyone functions at 5:00am.
Figure out what your best time of day is. When do you feel like your strongest, most focused self? To the extent that you can, modify your daily schedule so you can work within that time frame.
4) Stay focused on your law firm goal.
As I said before, it’s okay if you aren’t ready at the moment, but don’t lose sight of your goal. Keep planning for it…keep saving for it, even if you want that goal to come to fruition two or three years down the road. Every little step toward law firm ownership is both productive and motivating.
5) Ask for help.
We live in a world that often pushes this “I can do it all by myself” mentality, which is equal parts motivating and crushing—because we are strong, right? We’re totally capable of doing all the things! But that doesn’t mean we have to. We don’t have to be all and do all for everyone. It’s okay to ask for help along the way, so be sure to surround yourself with people who will. Balance tasks with your partner. Collaborate with other lawyers at your current firm. Do what it takes to keep yourself sane AND moving forward.
This advice is applicable to your goal of opening your own law firm, too! If you’re hesitant right now because you just don’t know what to do or even where to begin…ask for help! When I built my law firm, I didn’t have many resources to rely on and it was hard, and that’s why I wrote my book and created my course—because I want to be a helpful resource for you when you’re ready!
Until then, I just know that with a little help from the tips above (and your circle of supportive people), you’ll find better work/life balance—and that, of course, might leave you the space you need to really dive into law firm ownership!
Reach out if I can help. I’m here for you.