Sunday was Father’s Day, and as I reflected (and by reflected I mean waited for my dad to pick up the phone) on what a great guy my dad is, I thought about how ridiculous it is that I might someday also be a father (first step: “mutual assent”).
But today I read an article about finding balance in work and family, and I realized that massive debt, immaturity, and an inability to master even the most basic life-skills, are not the only barriers to my future fatherhood.
According to a study conducted at NYU Law School by abetterbalance.com, achieving a good work/life balance has become a more pressing concern for future lawyers than income, prestige and higher profile work. This was somewhat surprising to me after two years of watching law students sacrifice their social lives, and in some extreme instances, even flash based internet gaming, for reading, outlining and law reviewing.
Apparently, although many other professions have taken steps help their members find work/life balance, the legal profession has lagged behind. As some interviewees note in the report, many law firms give lip service to work/life balance by providing free dry-cleaning service and free meals at the firm. But these services, sometimes known as internal marketing, managerial innovations designed to keep Generation Y content, really only create more ties to work.
It seems to me that work/life balance is a pretty straight forward concept. If law students and young lawyers are really willing to take a pay and prestige cut to achieve better balance, then I don’t think they’re going to be tricked by internal marketing strategies. I guess we’ll find out in the next few years.