I received an email from a father and a former Military lawyer now in private practice. He started with… “Thank you for the wonderful resource. I came across your blog on LinkedIn.” As he continues the tone turned to frustration and resignation. He explained the pressure and stress that I hear from many, many lawyers. He had the guts to write it down and hit SEND. He wrote…
“Bottom line is that I am more miserable right now than I have ever been in 12 years since graduating, have no job satisfaction, stress through the roof, and not sure how to fix it. I came across your website tonight sitting at my daughter’s soccer practice on the night before the managing partner wants a written personal marketing plan. Not sure if this situation is salvageable but it just seemed that reaching out to you was the right thing to do.”
I spoke to the lawyer and at the core of it all was the pressure to develop business and do it in a way that others think a lawyer is supposed to… a way that doesn’t take into consideration that being a father is his number one priority in life. I shared with him that he isn’t alone and that I have many clients who were feeling the same frustrations and questioning if they should even continue practicing law. But… he (and you) can have both! You just have to develop business YOUR way and in YOUR world… the world of being a parent.
Parenting doesn’t have to play second fiddle to practicing law. You can combine both worlds. Network or as I prefer to think of it, build relationships on the soccer field or ballet recital.
I have a client who went on vacation with his children who are participating in sporting events all over the state, and we outlined a plan for him to build relationships all along the way. Now tell me how often do you hear that a lawyer has a business development strategy for their vacation? Not often… there is only one reason that could happen. And that is because he is having fun doing it… and best of all, he is relieved that he doesn’t have to do it like other lawyers do, he can do it his way.
Does this scenario of stress and pressure sound familiar, and do you sometimes feel that it’s impossible to parent and practice law in the same lifetime? If so, do something about it. Create a book of business around what is important to you… your children’s lives. You may have to reconsider your practice area or at least add more, but it can be done. I see my clients do it everyday.