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5 Hobbies for Lawyers to Take Up in the New Year

By William Peacock, Esq. | Last updated on

Work-life balance. It's something that many lawyers struggle with and if you're unsatisfied with your professional life, it's easy to subsume yourself into your work, thinking that the more hours you put in, the more it'll pay off.

Diminishing returns is what we'd say to that. And if you don't want to die of a heart attack after 15 years of working 200-hour weeks, you might want to try a little bit of balance.

How? Besides the obvious choice (spending more time with family, friends, and significant others), there is also the option of picking up a new hobby. Here are five you may want to consider:

5. Learn a Musical Instrument.

It's never too late to find your creative side. In the past, you'd have to buy an instrument, get private lessons, and really, there's no way you could eke out the time needed to become even slightly proficient in a musical instrument unless you started young.

Now? Take guitar, for example: You can get a cheap $100 guitar and learn how to play actual songs at your own pace using a computer or a video game console. Personal favorites include Instinct (browser-based, uses your microphone, and is great for acoustic guitar) and Rocksmith (PC, Mac, or gaming consoles, hooks into an electric guitar).

You wouldn't be the first lawyer to become a rock star...

4. Get Fit.

Fitness might sound like the most boring hobby ever and really, it kind of is, at least until you become one of those people who enjoy running marathons. (Ugh.) But you don't have to go that far -- a couple apps like Runtastic Pro (which tracks your running, biking, or other fitness activity) and MyFitnessPal (which is an amazing free calorie counter which helped me drop bar review weight), along with some goal-setting, could be all you need to get in shape.

Boring? Sure. But it pays off when you have less back and joint pain and a longer lifespan.

3. Beer Brewing/Wine Tasting.

It fitness sounds like a nightmare to you, this might be a better option: drinking. And we're not talking about knocking back pitchers of Natty Ice like you did in college. No, we're talking about sophisticated drinking -- craft beer brewing and wine tasting. Brew beer in your garage for friends and clients. Or join the ABA's hilarious wine club and talk about velvety mouth feel.

2. Find a Sport.

Some say that golf is where business gets done. Negotiate contracts, hammer out a plea, settle a harassment case, all over 18 holes of golf. Me? I tried golfing once and could barely make contact with a ball on a tee. I prefer a different gentlemanly sport: shooting. Other friends of mine prefer recreational league volleyball, soccer, or rugby.

Why a sport? Not only is it fun and healthy to get out of your office chair, but sports leagues are a great way to network and get your name out in the community. Teammates, coaches, and even opposing players are going to have legal problems. Your hobby league might become a source of referrals.

1. Write Something. Anything.

You're probably not the next Aaron Sorkin. You're probably not a John Grisham or even a Danielle Steele. But there is so much overlap between creative writing and good lawyering. Whether you are convincing a jury with a narrative, selling your services to clients, or drafting the appellate brief that sways the Supreme Court, all of it comes back to two things: writing and storytelling.

Of course, it's not easy to come home and write the next great American novel after working all day. I can barely stand to send emails after writing for eight hours per day. Start with a blog post or two. Maybe short stories. You don't have to write hundreds of pages -- just practice writing generally, especially if more of your day is spent in court or with people than in front of a keyboard.

What's your hobby? How do you find time for it with a full workload? Tweet us @FindLawLP.

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