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Weigh Work-Life Balance Before Law School

By William Vogeler, Esq. | Last updated on

In a law school orientation class, the administrator warned that half of the student marriages would not survive law school.

One student told his wife about it later, saying the law would take time away from family then and in the future. Law is a jealous mistress, he explained.

"Good, you can handle your own divorce!" she exclaimed.

It's only funny because it's true. Everybody knows that work-life balance is a tightrope act in the law. Better figure out your act in advance.

Law School

The good news is you don't have to go to law school if you don't want to work hard. If you are already a law student, then "hard work" shouldn't be news to you.

"I would tell a law student that if you place a huge premium on a 9 to 5 job and clocking out when you're done, then you might want to think twice before going into the law," says James Goodnow, a Harvard grad now with corporate law firm Fennemore Craig.

He told U.S. News that law students must understand that law practice is demanding. If they think law school is hard, then they are just getting started.

"The reality is there is a lot of work, and law firms that support managing that and individuals that can cope with that are the ones that are going to succeed," he said.

Law Practice

Once you have accepted the hard work life of a law student, the good news is that law school is a fair barometer for the future. Now let's tell you something you didn't know.

"Law firms are trying to be more accommodating, because they realize that they need to be in order to attract and retain top talent," says Lisa Bertrand, an in-house recruiter with legal services company Garden City Group.

Bertrand, who is also a law school admissions consultant, says prospective law students shouldn't let anxiety about work-life balance keep them from law school. She says the key is finding a legal employer sensitive to employee needs.

BigLaw typically grinds new associates, but smaller firms are often more flexible. Part-time, flex-time, and remote jobs are on the rise. And if you become a solo practitioner you can work your own schedule.

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