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Leaders in the Law provide advice on work/life balance

VLW_081919 new 2.inddVirginia Lawyers Weekly started the “Leaders in the Law” program in 2006, and each year we publish a special section containing a profile of each honoree, based on the answers to a questionnaire.

Some of the questions have changed  over the years, but one topic has been a constant: We like to learn how a Leader handles the challenge of maintaining equipoise between his or her professional obligations and his or her personal or home life.

Our question is this: How do you achieve a balance between your professional life and your personal life? Here are the answers from the Leaders Classes of 2009 to 2018.

Leaders in the Law 2009

ALEXANDER NICHOLAS LEVAY

“My professional life exposes me to the myriad problems that people have in their lives and relationships. Applying the insight gained from analysis of these situations is often uplifting in my personal life. We can always learn from the mistakes of others and at the same time feel fortunate and blessed that our own lives have not included some of the tragedies that everyone reads about and I see first hand. In terms of achieving balance, I have always sought adventure in nature. Kayaking big whitewater, skiing down steep mountain faces or just hiking in the woods give me great peace of mind. Being surrounded by the beauty and grandeur of God’s creation helps me keep my perspective.”

ANDREW NEA JR.

“While not always successful, I try to stay at the office as long as it takes to provide what I promised and then leave everything at the office.”

BEVERLY A. BURTON

“I don’t make a conscious effort to achieve a balance.  I just do what needs to be done whenever it needs to be done, whether professionally or personally, and sneak in a little “me time” whenever I can.”

BRETT COFFEE

“Time management and goal setting are important, but having an understanding spouse is probably the most important aspect of finding balance.  My wife and I are both busy professionals, but are still able to follow our personal passions: traveling and competing as runners, cyclists and triathletes.”

CHRISTOPHER M. MALONE

“I don’t see it as a balancing act. We live only one life and ought to use all of our time well in meeting our obligations as spouses, parents, lawyers, and members of the community — all of which are equally important and sacred.”

CLARENCE M. DUNNAVILLE JR.

“I have always worked long hours and weekends but I always kept my personal and family life separate and never mixed work and my personal life.”

COLEMAN ALLEN JR.

“The short answer is that I have never actually succeeded in achieving that balance, however, I look forward to what I can learn from the responses to this question by the other members of the ‘Class of 2009.’”

COLLEEN QUINN

“I am not sure that I have achieved a balance. When my husband sends me emails on “living with a crackberry addict” and my kids remind me not to check my emails while I am driving – I think I’m still in the “balancing act” training program. At least I can’t take a Blackberry or computer on the tennis court or underwater while scuba diving.”

EDWARD L. WEINER

“I genuinely love what I do, so it is my life.  Also, I play ice hockey once a week which provides for exercise and camaraderie.”

JUDGE GERALD BRUCE LEE

“My wife and I are very deliberate about our time together. My wife, who has an active law practice, and I lead highly scheduled lives.  We intentionally schedule our quality time to be together and time to be with our family. We are very intentional about keeping in touch with our diverse collection of friends, sharing our lives, love and laughs with them.”

GLENN WALTHALL PULLEY

“I don’t work on weekends unless my trial begins on Monday, and I try to never let the judge set my trial on Monday!”

JACK W. BURTCH JR.

“I don’t.  I just do what has to get done.  Sometimes that means taking care of clients; sometimes it means taking care of me.”

JAMES W. HOPPER

“Daily exercise at the Weinstein Center, U of R, following work to release frustration and pressures of the day.”

JAYNE W. BARNARD

“I’m still working on that. I am my father’s daughter.”

JOANNE NOLTE

“It’s very hard, especially since my husband is my partner.  We try to make sure that we escape to fun places regularly.”

JOHN L. COSTELLO

“It’s not a problem for me anymore – I’m 80 years old and retired.”

KATJA H. HILL

“I’m not sure that my professional life is ever really balanced.  As a working professional and parent to young children I have learned that both aspects of life demand 110% of your attention and at different times either your personal or professional life must be your priority.  The trick is learning to prioritize the various demands on your time and to be flexible enough to adapt to the most pressing demand of the moment.”

LAWRENCE D. DIEHL

“I love the beach and snorkeling. I make sure I take at least four weeks of annual vacation roughly in quarterly periods with my wife so we can have good quality time together and get away from the stress of the law practice. I’m really good at putting the practice out of my mind when on vacation.”

MICHAEL L. GOODMAN

“(Sometimes I don’t…), but I usually manage by getting exercise everyday (sometimes at the expense of sleep), drawing regularly and, primarily, by having an amazing and tolerant wife.”

MICHAEL PACE JR.

“Balance is something to strive for. Attaining it is a challenge, so priorities matter. My family comes first. I enjoy being a lawyer, serving clients, and being managing partner of the firm. Staying actively involved in community, civic and bar related efforts is also very important to me. In my spare time, I like to fish, hunt birds, paint and play golf Staying busy is easy, getting things done is hard.”

NORMAN F. OBLON

“First, recognize that law is a humanistic endeavor.  Therefore, the best lawyers are also the most well-rounded people.  The lawyer who only works and does not engage in all that life offers may not be the most effective lawyer.  Once this concept is accepted, it becomes quite easy to find an appropriate balance between one’s professional and personal lives.”

RAIGHNE C. DELANEY

“I’m still working on this one.  The law is a jealous mistress.  I try to steal time for myself and my family when I can.”

RICHARD E. GARRIOTT JR.

“Balance?  This is very difficult; however with four daughters at home, it makes it a little easier to attempt to leave work at the office and focus on personal life once you go home. Additionally, I attempt to make time every day for the gym or a run in order to ‘leave the office behind.’”


Leaders in the Law 2010

DAVID B. ALBO

“No matter how busy I get, I set aside time to play with my boy, Ben and spend time with my wife, Rita. Ben just turned 5. I never want to be that guy who missed it all because they had something which seemed more important at the time. Growing up, neither my Mom nor Dad ever missed anything of mine. Also, I always set aside time to crank my Marshall JCM 800 and my Gibson Les Paul to 11. You got to let off some steam when you are a politician and a lawyer.”

STEPHAN F. (HOBIE) ANDREWS

“I’m still struggling with this one. If you ask my wife, she will say that I haven’t found the balance; too much time at the office. I grudgingly appreciate her wisdom now that my eldest is off to college and I consider the family opportunities I have missed. This is a work in process.”

JAMES L. BANKS JR.

“It’s a struggle every day. I just try to remember that it is important for me and those in my life (both personally and professionally) that I be fully engaged and not overemphasize one part of my life over another.”

LINDA L. BRYANT

“I spend as much time with my daughter as I can. My husband and I have a few select TV shows for which the world must come to a halt. I try to run when I can. Running helps clear my head.”

PETER C. BURNETT

“With considerable difficulty. I love my work, but despite long hours, I find the time to watch my kids’ games, organize meaningful family vacations, and spend quality time with the family.”

IRVIN V. CANTOR

“Most of the time, I do not think I maintain such a good balance. Any balance I do maintain is due to the fact that I am the ultimate list maker – to the point my law partners think I am a nut. However, it helps me achieve some efficiency in performing my daily tasks.”

MICHAEL S. DINGMAN

“This can be quite challenging in our profession. I have made it a habit of when I leave the office to leave the concerns of the day there as well. This is not always easy to do, but I have learned through 20 years of practice that those concerns will be waiting for me the next day and I am better equipped to deal with them if I have rejuvenated myself by focusing on my family. I have also gotten involved in the activities of my children through coaching sports and volunteering for other activities which sort of forces me to create the proper balance.”

MELINDA DOUGLAS

“I am far from being an expert at this. Very often personal time is sacrificed to professional obligations. However I carve out two hours per day for a walk without cell phones, blackberry, I-pod, etc. This allows time for reflection and mental relaxation.”

PAUL B. EBERT

“Always save time and opportunities for recreation and personal activity.”

J. SCOTT SEXTON

“Like most lawyers, my life has been an experience of the tyranny of the imminent. “Balance” has been an elusive concept — so much so that I doubt that the practical application of this concept (as most people would envision it) actually exists in the world of high stakes litigation. My solution has been to carve out time for family whenever possible; and to make the most of that time when it can be pried from the demands of work. If large blocks of time can be taken, I take them. The key to having that time be meaningful is cutting the cell phone and blackberry umbilical cords that lawyers have now come to believe are crucial to their survival.”

M. MELISSA GLASSMAN

“I have always had the full support of my firm and my family. My husband of 33 years, also an attorney, was a full participate in shouldering the demands of raising two boys. He coached, he cleaned and he baked plenty of cupcakes along the way. McGuireWoods gave me the flexibility I needed early in my career to balance the demands of motherhood and the practice of law.”

KAREN A. GOULD

“When I was in private practice, working as an insurance defense lawyer, I worked most of the time and did not have very good life-work balance. The VSB executive director position has permitted me to slow down somewhat. The energy I get from this improved pace I’ve been able to feed back into my job. It helps me listen and focus, it makes me more patient, and it keeps my sense of humor at the ready.”

ROBERT T. HALL

“What balance? My professional life is much of my personal life, I love what I do and my wife is co-pilot.”

GEORGE HETTRICK

“By not taking my work home with me.”

HELIVI L. HOLLAND

“Balance between my professional life and personal life requires prioritizing. Prioritizing requires recognizing the importance of God, family and career… in that order.”

TIMOTHY R. HUGHES

“At various points, I have made conscious decisions about the type of career and life I want. I have tried to structure my practice in ways that allow me to not get swallowed whole and miss being part of our family’s daily fabric. I try very hard to regularly get home for dinner with my three-year-old daughter, almost five-year-old son, and wife, and to be there for bedtime. Still, there is no question that cases or client matters will take significant amounts of time and pull a dedicated lawyer outside of their home life. I think on one level this question supposes there is such a static balance, and my life feels more like constant hustling and adjustment.”

MICHAEL HUYOUNG

“Unfortunately, I have not achieved that balance. Often times, work takes the priority over my personal life. I am blessed to have a very understanding wife and forgiving daughters.”

JOHN C. JOHNSON

“Both my professional life and my personal life demand full attention, but it is critical to have an outlet. If you do not take sufficient time to recharge, and to do something that you enjoy outside of the practice of law, you will fail. Find your passion. Spend time with your family, exercise, read, fish, do something that you enjoy that takes you away from the demands of the profession every day. Both your professional and personal lives will benefit.”

JUDGE COLLEEN KILLILEA

“This is an on-going process, one that I’m working on every day.”

SHAWN MAJETTE

“I do what Mrs. Majette tells me to do.”

ANDREW R. MCROBERTS

“Balance does not happen by accident. It happens by choice. My outside activities, such as scoutmaster for my local boy scout troop, take time and effort, but are worth it. I have been blessed that the counties I have served supported a life-work balance. My law firm, Sands Anderson PC, supports that same balance.”

JUDGE BECKY J. MOORE

“I run, practice yoga, and try to keep a good sense of humor.”

TONY H. PHAM

“I grew up seeing my parents both work two jobs apiece. Neither was home for any extended period of time to spend with their children because of the requirement to put a roof over our heads and food on the table. Watching this, I knew that my goal in life was to become as successful as I could WITHOUT sacrificing my relationship with either my spouse or children. I wanted to make sure my children could spend time with me and that I could watch them grow. I needed to be present for the precious moments in their lives because they only happen once. Hopefully, many will see me as a loyal and loving father and husband. In realizing this need, I spend just as much time with my family as I do in my job. I make sure that I set aside a lot of time for my kids who are a large part of my personal life.”

DALE W. PITTMAN

“I consider both equally important and try to work equally hard at each.”

WILLIAM L. SCHMIDT

“The major challenge of my life has been to try and achieve a proper balance between my professional life and my personal life. I have always been extremely committed to the practice of law. As my children were growing up I always tried to be involved in their various activities and tried to provide support for those activities. While I spend an inordinate amount of hours at work, I pride myself in the fact that when I go home, I do not take any work with me.”

LARRY W. SHELTON

“Balancing my professional and personal life was far more difficult when I was a young attorney than it is now. However, over the years, I have learned that family is far more important than career and must be treated as such.”

VANESSA L. ALLEN SUTHERLAND

“Is balance possible? I am not sure that I have achieved balance, but I am a pretty good juggler. Over the years, I learned to say “no” early and often to avoid over-committing. I try to be polite but direct about my commitments; however, I will sacrifice alone time and hobbies to support my family’s and friends’ events or my professional obligations. Family, friends and technology are great assets to help me stay organized. There are various causes that could monopolize all free time, but I don’t want to deliver substandard performance. I prefer to do a handful of things with phenomenal results. I always find time to recharge my batteries so that I can keep giving back energetically.”

RONALD R. TWEEL

“I make certain times of the day and year sacrosanct for myself and my family.”

CHARLES F. “RICK” WITTHOEFFT

“I have mostly avoided the temptation to be constantly wired to the office when I’m away. It’s one thing to be generally available to clients, counsel and colleagues when necessary, but being always “on call” and responsive at all times is too much and can be destructive of personal relationships.”


Leaders in the Law 2011

CRAIG S. COOLEY

“I don’t think I have. My family has been very, very patient.”

ELIZABETH K. DILLON

“I am able to try to achieve a balance between my professional life and my personal life because I have a wonderful husband who keeps me grounded and makes me laugh.”

MICHAEL R. DOUCETTE

“Another bit of advice I heard once was “No one ever died saying they should have spent more time in the office.” I don’t always follow this advice, especially since my wife also is a prosecutor and we are empty-nesters; but I do try to spend as much time with family as possible. And when I am working in the evening and I run into one of our attorneys working late, I repeat that advice along with encouragement to get home and spend as much time as possible with the spouse and children.”

CHESHIRE I’ANSON EVELEIGH

“I have been blessed to have organized assistants at work that help me balance my practice and I make sure to take time off during the year for vacations and time with my family.”

CAROLYN M. GRIMES

“I do not know if I achieve a balance really well, except I do take time for family and friends.”

MICHAEL “MIKE” HERN

“I’m pretty good at compartmentalizing. Work is work, and family is family. Running helps me focus and keeps the distinction clear.”

JON D. HUDDLESTON

“My professional life is a means to help make my personal life better. It is not a substitute for it. My family and outside activities are just as important priorities.”

JUDGE J. SAMUEL JOHNSTON

“I made a decision that my professional life would never displace or limit my obligation to my family. Fortunately, nothing ever occurred that would cause me to make a choice of one over the other.”

J. JACK KENNEDY JR.

“Balance between professional and personal life is probably the more challenging aspect of my life, as I tend to be immersive in projects seeking to meet timeline milestones. Nonetheless, I strive to forge balance-seeking time with my spouse so we may foster our greater understanding of the wonders of the world, both natural and human-made. Taking the time and opportunities to enjoy our residence, America’s national parks and seeing significant parts of the world, periodically, we gather sensational moments to share with one another.”

NEIL S. KESSLER

“It has been difficult and I do not know whether I have successfully achieved a good balance. A stable family life is crucial to achieve any balance and my understanding and patient wife has been the key to remind me on many occasions about what is really important in one’s life.”

LANE KNEEDLER

“It’s a constant challenge because I have always loved my work, and I often fail in achieving a balance. But I’ve learned that time passes quickly and that family and friends are what really matter and, no matter what the conflict, you need to be there for them.”

RICHARD E. LADD JR.

“By realizing that no one (in their right mind) has ever said, with their dying breath: ‘I wish I had spent less time with my family.’”

DAVID W. LANNETTI

“Admittedly, I am not always successful at achieving an appropriate balance. When I am, however, it is only because I have an extremely supportive wife and teammate—who also happens to be an attorney—to help me keep things in perspective. Except on rare occasions, while an attorney I have dropped off my children at school, eaten dinner with my family each evening, and refrained from going to the office on weekends.”

JUDGE M. HANNAH LAUCK

“A lack of sleep helps; so does a sense of humor.”

CHRIS McCARTHY

“With a lot of help from my son, whose creativity and enthusiasm are infectious; my wife, who (as an attorney herself) understands the time demands of a law practice, keeps everything running smoothly at home, and makes sure I’ve got time set aside for family activities; and colleagues at work who are true friends, committed to getting the job done, supporting each other at work and in our personal lives, and willing to tell each other to go home.”

DALE GEORGE MULLEN

“I work with the people around me to set detailed goals to which we all will then be accountable. Within those goals, we craft strategies and tactics to move forward. These keep me and others disciplined and on schedule in my professional life to allow time for personal life.”

ALBERT “AL” ORGAIN

“Family: children and grandchildren have a way of teaching you what is really important in life. Aviation and law practice pay the bills and give occasional thrills, but that experience would be short on meaning without the love and support of family.”

W. JOSEPH “JOE” OWEN

“Vince Lombardi often said that our priorities in life should be our faith, our family and our vocation in that order of importance. I have tried to keep that prospective. As I am able to do that, the better I am able to maintain a healthy balance between my personal and professional life.”

LUIS A. PEREZ

“I enjoy spending time with my family, especially with my kids. I coached little league baseball for 5 years while my older child was growing up. My youngest is now keeping me very busy as he is actively playing baseball, ice hockey and basketball. In between, we vacation frequently going skiing, camping and to the beach.”

J. CHAPMAN PETERSEN

“When I’m with the kids, I try to do active things so our time together is memorable. I also try to stay physically fit. I’m a member of the NOVA Rugby ‘Old Grays’ and still play 4-5 matches a year.”

TODD A. PILOT

“Taking on fewer matters; having designated days when I must leave early to pick up my son from school; coaching or assisting with my son’s teams; and taking vacations away from home with family with an away message letting everyone know that you are unavailable and you will not be checking email.”

ANDY REINHARDT

“Monette and I try to go to the gym together every day.”

LINDA F. RIGSBY

“Segmenting the hours in the day and the week is the best way I’ve found to achieve balance. I work hard as a lawyer while at work and then I turn it off and devote myself to my family and friends in the evening and on weekends.”

ARTHUR E. SCHMALZ

“By approaching most everything I do with maximum energy and enthusiasm, whether at work or at play.”

GUY KING TOWER

“Having a loving and supportive spouse, four wonderful children and four delightful grandchildren is enormously helpful in keeping things in perspective.”

JOHN M. TRAN

“I achieve balance by simply eliminating the distinction between my professional and personal life and merging the two. It is relatively easy to balance a single entity. I am humbled by having the privilege of enjoying life defined as a practicing lawyer. This world sustains itself by people who define themselves by what they do, whether as farmers, artists, engineers, teachers, soldiers, homemakers, lawyers or whatever pursuits they undertake well. I am as happy discussing the changes in the 4th Circuit over quiet candlelit dinners as I am discussing the longevity of the ABBA musical “Mamma Mia!” or the fate of the Washington Redskins.”

STANLEY P. WELLMAN

“By making it a true priority. It’s exhausting, but I always squeezed in some work at home before the children woke up and again after they went to bed. (I can sleep when I retire.) That allowed me to be home for most breakfasts and almost every dinner. And, in addition to “dating my wife”, I tried to make some quality one-on-one time with each child at least once a week. Finally, I tried never to miss a child’s sporting event, play, or other performance.”

DAVID M. ZOBEL

“I try to pay attention to what is important in life: faith, family, friends, nature, learning, serving, and work.”


Leaders in the Law 2012

STEVE BENJAMIN

“My professional life is a part of me. “Striking a balance” implies that my profession somehow competes with the rest of my life. It doesn’t. My profession enhances my life and helps me achieve the goals that make my life complete.”

DAVID BERNHARD

“Don’t take on more cases than you can handle–say “no” sometimes; have a referral network of friends; do not see clients every day; do not go to the office on weekends.”

JOSEPH P. CORISH

“Balancing one’s professional and personal lives can be tough, but I have noticed through the years that there is always enough professional work in my life, to the point that my professional life will take as much of my time as I am willing to allow. For me, making my personal life a priority and developing and relying on quality assistance at the workplace has been a formula for success.”

JAMES C. COSBY

“Active service in a bar organization is very encouraging. Make your clients your friends. If you have a family, and a trial ends early or settles, declare a holiday and do something fun with them. Call home, every day. Treat your partners like clients.”

DAVID G. DeFAZIO

“Just understand: “It’s your livelihood, not your life.” My real job is to raise my children, the stuff I do during the day is a means to help me accomplish that.”

SEN. JOHN S. EDWARDS

“It is important to carve out time for purely family activities.”

EVAN H. FARR

“Work hard and play hard, but don’t combine the two. Don’t have an office in your home and don’t bring your work home.”

ROBERT M. GALUMBECK

“There is no balance. The old saying remains true. “The law is a jealous mistress.” Build a practice. Hire associates. As you get older, you can start taking time off to spend with your grandkids.”

TRACY A. GILES

“Ask not what your spouse can do for you, but what you can do for your spouse.”

FRANKLIN P. HALL

“My family has always been involved in both my personal and professional life. Shared interests and activities have enabled us to have a life filled with incredible experiences.”

JACK L. HARRIS

“Compromise and commitment. Most of us who love what we do tend to do much more of it than is best for us. I’ve made a deal with myself that I’ll commit to compromise and split out more time to be with my wife, with friends, to read, to attend concerts and sporting events, etc. then I would likely take unless I had a commitment to honor. In the end, I know that I’m much happier because I made that commitment.”

HARRY M. “PETE” JOHNSON, III

“Always remind yourself that the practice of law is a means to an end, not the end itself.”

SHARON K. LIEBLICH

“You need a “mental switch” and the ability to shut down the stress and responsibility of your office and turn the “switch on” to your family and personal life when you leave work. It took years of practice but I think I have gotten pretty good at doing this. Also, never plan to return to work the very next day after a vacation for a week or longer. Give yourself a morning to catch up on chores at home and plan to take your secretary/administrative assistant out to lunch to thank her or him for “filtering out” everything they could so that you can enjoy your time away. Spend the afternoon at work taking care of all the “smaller” action items which accumulated while you were gone so that they don’t get ignored and moulder in your “to do” stack. You will be ready for anything the next day.”

EDWARD B. LOWRY

“Be home for dinner with your entire family every night you possibly can.”

SCOTT OOSTDYK

“My best tip: work at home when you can, so your family can access you but also see what it takes to achieve in the work world.”

MARY M.H. PRIDDY

“Marry a spouse who will happily and competently handle the home front when needed so that you can feel good about what you do at work which then allows you to feel good about the time you take away from work.”

ROBERT A. PUSTILNIK

“If your wife (spouse) is unhappy, you have the balance wrong. If you do not see your grandchildren at every possible opportunity, and at least once a week, you have the balance very wrong. In the long run, it is not the things that you tried and failed, that will haunt you. It is the things that you could have tried, but never got around to.”

ROSCOE C. ROBERTS

“Avoid discussing your day at work with your spouse when you get home in the evening, as much as possible.”

DAVID R. RUBY

“Volunteer as a coach for your child’s athletic team. This will force you to leave the office to make practices and games. Also, take family vacations. While on vacation, think about quitting your job, moving and starting a new life with your family. When you return home, you are refreshed and energized.”

DOUGLAS P. RUCKER JR.

“I am the wrong person to ask for a tip for striking a balance between one’s professional life and his or her personal life. I have not been very good at it. But since you asked, I believe it is important to leave work at work and not take it home. In my personal case, it’s also helpful to live close to the office (I live 14 blocks away.)”

SANDRA L. SAMPSON

“You have to schedule time for yourself. Every lawyer knows how to schedule court time, depositions, appointments, etc., but you have to remember to schedule quality time for yourself and your family.”

EDWARD E. SCHER

“If you have children who are interested in team sports, coach their teams when they are young. The practice and game schedule will get you out of the office and into their company on a regular basis. You will have fun, and you don’t really have to be an expert at the game. And there will always be time to get your office work done.”

SUSAN STONEY

“I try to live in the present. While I am at work, I focus on the issues and matters that come up in my professional life. When I am at home, I try to leave work behind and focus fully on my family and friends. This is not easy, admittedly, but doing so helps me to enjoy both aspects of my life. I also try to keep active physically, through bike riding and distance running.”

RICHARD C. “RIP” SULLIVAN, JR.

“Successfully maintaining the balance between your professional and personal life requires as much focus and energy as you put into your professional life.”

LORI D. THOMPSON

“If you love your job and your family as I do, embrace your smartphone as a tool to help you manage your professional and personal responsibilities. I once heard a young attorney refer to their office-provided smartphone as an ankle bracelet that you’re sentenced to wear – making you always tied to the office. I view it as a fantastic tool that allows me to leave the office when needed to tend to personal matters without limiting my ability to be responsive to my colleagues. Smartphones can be a Mom or Dad’s best friend because you can actually be two places at once – of course, it helps when both Mom and Dad feel the same way about the phone. (My husband depends on his smartphone for his job as much as I do.) The smartphones also help you take more of those vacations referenced above because you can still be responsive from the beach.”

LUCIA ANNA “PIA” TRIGIANI

“Striking balance is not in my nature. I very much admire and appreciate those who do and can. They are true leaders in the law and in life.”


Leaders in the Law 2013

HEIDI W. ABBOTT

“You need to fit your work into your life, not your life into your work.”

JOEL BRANSCOM

“I married a prosecutor, Ann Gardner. We speak the same language.”

MATTHEW “MATT” BROUGHTON

“It is imperative that adults have “play” time. It is not enough to just relax and “recuperate.” Working hard must be followed with playing hard. For me, this is meant mountain biking, scuba diving, acrobatic flying, playing guitar/mandolin and, most recently, wake surfing. Such activities focus my mind, while at the same time clearing it.”

MARNI E. BYRUM

“During your career there will be many opportunities to volunteer your time or contribute your skills to a board, a committee or a cause, but you must choose wisely. Committing significantly to those things which are important to you as opposed to saying yes to every request for involvement will help you find the balance needed to enjoy your practice, your family and friends, and your life.”

SANDRA T. CHINN-GILSTRAP

“Raising positive, productive children, while remaining true to the partnership of marriage and the standards of my profession, is a challenge I look forward to undertaking each day. Incredibly, countless Rules of Professional Conduct help serve as a guide in many contexts/arenas. The Rules remind us to honor the sacred attorney-client privilege, to avoid even the appearance of impropriety, and to serve as a good person and good neighbor. In fact, honoring the attorney –client privilege establishes a true boundary which is essential in striking the work-life balance.”

THOMAS J. CURCIO

“Love your spouse and kids-the rest will take care of itself.”

S. MILES DUMVILLE

“Develop a routine for getting regular physical exercise and stick to it. Even when I am in a lengthy trial, I take time off to work out. It’s the best way I know to maintain good mental, physical and emotional health, and to have the stamina to manage the stress and time demands of major litigation. Also, never allow yourself to be so busy that you do not have time for your spouse and children.”

KAREN L. FORTIER

“Each of us has to find his or her unique path to professional and personal satisfaction. Identify and what is most important and enjoyable. Be patient and keep trying.”

JEFFREY H. GEIGER

“Go to all of your kids’ events.”

NINA J. GINSBERG

“Set time aside for your personal life, tell people you won’t be available, and then ignore your email.”

JILL A. HANKEN

“Take at least one vacation every year – and never for less than two weeks!”

PATRICK W. HERMAN

“Set a maximum for the number of hours (all hours, not just billable hours) that you will contribute per year, then stick by it. This will need adjusting from time to time as your life changes.”

JAMES HINGELEY

“I have been fortunate that what happens in my professional life is also a significant part of my personal life. Friends and family appreciate my stories about work, and help me with the ups and downs of my professional life.”

STEPHEN A. ISAACS

“Keep in touch with long time and good friends-don’t take your professional self too seriously-play golf and exercise.”

THOMAS CHANDLER KLEINE

“I don’t feel that I was particularly good at always striking the balance. However, I think it’s important to find an area of practice that really interests you. I have spent my adult life working around and studying legislative bodies and governmental entities, so my area of practice is a natural extension of my personal interests. I also think it is critical to create a family schedule and stick to it. If I don’t have an evening hearing or obligation out of the office, I always try to be home for a sit-down dinner with my family. Now that we are “empty nesters” my wife and I take a three mile walk most evenings – often in the dark. That gives us great “uninterrupted” time to talk. The only permitted gadget is a flashlight. I also think that a daily exercise routine is critical – the time that works best for me is 5:30 in the morning.”

TARA LEE

“Red-eye flights? Realistic expectations? Honestly I don’t know any magic words for striking that balance. A friend of mine quoted the movie “Tombstone” to me the other day: “There is no normal life. There’s just life.” Maybe that advice pertains. But really, the closest I can give to a “tip” is to say you have to make conscious choices, don’t let inertia or momentum decide things for you, and go ahead and challenge the status quo when that’s warranted.”

GEORGE KEITH MARTIN

“‘Seek ye first the Kingdom of God.’ If you put God first, He will help you develop your priorities and therefore help you strike a balance.”

JOHN D. McGAVIN

“Always stay involved in every leadership position, church activity, coaching, or other community activity you can. These commitments allow you to be there for your family, and help your community as well.”

NEIL McPHIE

“You always have to make time for family. Most importantly, you have to make time for your kids because they are the most important things in your life.”

JAMES MEATH

“I would advise not to draw a bright line between the two. Use both in a way that allows for growth, success and accomplishing your goals without sacrificing one for the other.”

JUDGE DAVID J. NOVAK

“I continue to struggle in this area, but I try to ensure that I dedicate uninterrupted time for my daughters, particularly vacations. This usually results in some longer hours on other days, but I’ve learned the hard way that my time is the greatest gift that I can give my children.”

PAULA L. PEADEN

“Limit your commute time, if at all possible. Pick and choose your calendar activities in order to spend quality time over quantity with clients, friends and family.”

MARK E. RUBIN

“I am not very good at this.”


Leaders in the Law 2014

THOMAS R. BAGBY

“Be sure you share the positive things from work at home and make every effort to minimize the negative ones.”

MATTHEW P. BOSHER

“I accept that my professional life and personal life overlap and I don’t insist on rigid boundaries between the two. Clients are entitled to around-the-clock availability but most conference calls and meetings can be scheduled around family meals and school performances. Technology can also be indispensable in managing any competing work and family commitments.”

DAWN BUTORAC

“I don’t balance my professional and personal life very well. I always strive to keep the two separate—what happens at work shouldn’t come home with me. In an effort to balance the two I try to find a lot of outside activities that keep me busy—volunteer work, sports and spending time with friends. It is often easier said than done, though.”

DONALD S. CALDWELL

“We all come into this world with an expiration date. Take your job seriously, but not yourself.”

MANUEL A. CAPSALIS

“Judge Gerald Bruce Lee once said that on your deathbed, you likely won’t be thinking that maybe you should have billed more hours. Striking the right balance is a constant adjustment. One thing that has helped is to try to prioritize those parts of my personal and professional life that I thoroughly enjoy. Immersing myself in bar-related activities on the local and state level, and public service-related projects has been an amazing pleasure. Sitting as a substitute judge for the last 11 years is such an honor. Serving as the prosecutor for the Town of Herndon is another. We live and have raised our kids in Herndon, and it is a privilege to play a small role in the safety and well-being of our great town.”

VINCERETTA CHILES

“My yoga and meditation practice has been extremely instructive in balancing my professional and personal life. Stay in the moment; mindful presence. When I am working, I try not to become distracted by anything unrelated to work. When I am not working, I surround myself with the people and places and things that put a smile on my face. It’s difficult. We make a living thinking. We are always analyzing, considering, processing and engaging in critical thought. It’s hard to turn off. But when I successfully “stay in the moment” and not allow my mind to consider matters I am not immediately concerned with, my clients benefit from a laser-focused, engaged effort of advocacy, and my pups appreciate a good run or frolic in the river without a phone attached to my ear.”

ROGER CREAGER

“Since being a trial and appellate lawyer so often overwhelms my personal life, I am not sure I have a good tip to offer.”

NORA DEMLEITNER

“Children and a spouse who drag you away from the office and email.”

BEN DIMURO

“Do what Joe Condo does — I’m not much of a role model here.”

HUGH M. FAIN III

“Carve out family time and stick to it. Family dinner time daily is especially important, I believe.”

MICHAEL GOODOVE

“Both are about balance. No one has “He was a wonderful worker and put in a tremendous amount of hours at the office” on their tombstone. My approach has been that family comes first and that keeps both my family and professional life in balance.”

LINDA JACKSON

“Choose your life partner well, ideally a partner who will share family responsibilities and who values your professional life as much as his own.”

KRISTI CAHOON KELLY

“Embrace and prioritize your personal life. It humanizes you to others. I have done many conference calls with judges and opposing counsel while watching my son play outside and have a bassinet in my office.”

JUDGE STANLEY P. KLEIN

“Make time to get away, especially with your children. My daughter and I have spent a week together in Scotland and a few years ago my son and I took two weeks together in New Zealand. The bonds that are created during such one-on-one trips can last a lifetime.”

JEFFREY LEHRER

“Vacations! Schedule multiple vacations in advance (clients respect your vacations, especially when you give them prior notice and find coverage in your absence).”

BRYANT McGANN

“Walk the dog to Starbucks with your spouse first thing every morning to start the day off right!”

JUDGE JOHN J. McGRATH JR.

“I am not sure I have done so. Therefore, I am probably not one to be giving advice on this subject.”

JUDGE ROBERT E. PAYNE

“Keep each in perspective and be committed to each while mindful of the other.”

DENNIS QUINN

“Find a hobby you like that has nothing to do with practicing law and excel at it. For me the hobby is sailing.”

DOUGLAS RAMSEUR

“I highly recommend having a very understanding spouse. My wife is incredibly supportive of my work. She understands how important it is that I represent my clients well. We both know that there are times when long days and weekends are required but when the deadlines are less pressing, I don’t feel guilty about leaving the office early to spend time with my family. You can’t be so busy saving your client’s life that you forget to live your own.”

KEN ROEBER

“Keep it all in perspective—work hard at your professional life, but be defined by your personal life.”

O. RANDOLPH ROLLINS

“Take a trip to some foreign land, where you are forced to disconnect.”

STEPHEN R. ROMINE

“I suspect I could have done a better job in this area. The reward for good work is more work. The tendency is to do more and more. At some point, you must do some honest soul searching and admit that you are over extended. Then you can try to achieve a better balance between work and family. New technologies and the virtual workspace can be an immense advantage to your practice, but the challenge lies in creating limitations, allowing yourself to unplug and give your family the attention they deserve. You can also work after everyone else has gone to bed.”

ROBERT ROSS

“Understand that the amount of time that you devote to your professional or personal life is not really as important as the quality of time that you devote to each.”

JAY SPEER

“Listen to your spouse, your children and your family.”

ROB WAGNER

“Communicate with your loved ones and remember, few people ever finished their careers wishing they had spent more time at the office.”

EDWARD S. WHITLOCK III

“I do not pretend to believe that I have mastered this! I have to work at it every day. I work long hours, but being self-employed I am able to leave the office when I need to and become involved in bar activities, community activities, church and school activities, and coach my children’s sports teams – I just might need to work later at night when these matters are completed. I take two lengthy vacations a year, with little thought to work, to spend time with my wife and ‘recharge my batteries.’”

LARRY YOUNGNER

“Communication and expectations.”


Leaders in the Law 2015

BUDDY ALLEN

“Limit endeavors other than family/practicing law. Be certain to treat family time as important as a trial date.”

CHERYL L. BLACK

“Work for people who understand, respect and value work/life balance. I firmly believe that having flexibility to manage home life frees you up to achieve your career goals.”

DORIS HENDERSEN CAUSEY

“Always put family first.”

JOSEPH A. CONDO

“It’s difficult to sum it up in one tip, but if I have to I’d say it’s this: There is rarely anything in the practice of law that cannot wait until the next day — and if a lawyer plans carefully, there never is. A lawyer who thinks otherwise either has an inflated opinion of his or her importance, or needs to hire more associates or paralegals.”

JOHN FREY

“I am still a work in progress!”

FRANK FRIEDMAN

“Marry someone who understands you. In my case it helped that my wife is also a lawyer – we both understood the stresses and requirements of the profession.”

J. WILLIAM GRAY

“Put the personal part first because it needs to be nurtured constantly and will be important long after the professional part ends.”

JONATHAN HALPERIN

“Having an understanding spouse. Barring that? You have to take time for yourself every so often to recharge.”

AMBERLEY HAMMER

“Love what you do! I love my job because it allows me to help others. When you are satisfied professionally, you can be a better wife, family member, friend and person. Family is the most important thing in my life, and I remind myself of that daily.”

SANDRA HAVRILAK

“Take time for yourself. Find something you like to do outside the office and make it happen. If you are not happy in your personal life it will affect your professional life.”

COLLIN HITE

“Find a way to detach from the outside world: work, family, bills, clients, etc. You need to find a place or activity that allows you to rest and generate a level of inner peace. Whatever it is- go there or perform the activity very regularly. Work, family, bills, clients will be there on Monday.”

JAMES W. KORMAN

“You can take your work seriously without taking yourself too seriously.”

JIM LEMUNYON

“As the late Stephen Covey wrote in ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,’ fill your bucket with the big rocks first, then fill in the sand around the rocks. I found this to be especially helpful when planning family time.”

MICHAEL LIEBERMAN

“For me, it was to marry a non-lawyer. My wife works in art and graphic design, so our discussions about our days are not focused exclusively on the law and our friends are not immersed in the law. Having three children who had and still have diverse interests also helps maintain that balance. In the late 1990’s, when I was having trouble maintaining that balance, I took several years off from the practice of law and worked with my wife at her graphic design firm, coached my children’s soccer teams and started an ice hockey team at my sons’ high school. When I returned to my firm and law practice, I was refreshed and ready to for the constant challenges of a law practice.”

THOMAS LISK

“I have not been successful in finding a good balance between professional and personal life, but one strategy that has helped is to schedule time with my spouse (e.g., a regular date night for drinks at LeMaire) to make sure we find time to connect.”

JOHN “JACK” MAUS

“Your job will consume you if you allow it to. In private practice, one works long hours and one needs to play for long hours, too, at whatever brings joy to your heart and soul. In my case, that’s music.”

KATHLEEN McCAULEY

“You must not sweat the small stuff (this is a daily struggle) and surround yourself with like-minded colleagues and friends.”

THOMAS MILLER

“I have always followed the adage that you should work hard while at work and develop that same passion to your non-work activities, whatever they might be, whether personal or leisure enjoyment. I made it a point to attend my sons’ sporting events and school activities. I even coached them in their early soccer years. You can always make time if you try. My hope is that they have learned that any career or procession is important, and should be pursued to the fullest, but it is not always the most important thing in your life. It is one aspect of your life, and there must be moderation and balance in all that you do.”

ELIZABETH MURTAGH

“Have fun and “enjoy what you do” in both aspects of your life. I think it is important to make time in your life to be a part of the world around you, to be involved in professional organizations and in community endeavors.”

SHARON NELSON

“Unplug regularly. Disengaging from technology is critical to work-life balance.”

JOHN OWEN

“The answer lies in the question. Personal life must always come before professional life. It’s not a “balance”, as my personal life far outweighs my professional life. I work very hard. I often stay up late and I often get up early. But, I coach my son’s sports teams, I attend school functions, I meet my wife for lunch, I play too much golf and I take too many vacations. But I never apologize for any of that, because that’s the priority. The four founders of HCCW built our Firm (30 plus lawyers) to recognize family and personal life as a priority. Point being, you can be financially and professionally successful while maintaining the right ‘balance.’”

JOHN PADGETT

“Balancing a professional life and personal life is a process that requires constant monitoring and tweaking. You need to realize that as an individual you cannot do it all. You need to focus on the activities that you enjoy and value most. You then need to delegate and outsource everything else.”

SHARON PANDAK

“I can’t claim balance but I respond when important personal matters need attention. Let me quote a favorite playwright, George Bernard Shaw: ‘Just do what must be done,’ and, ‘I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live.’ Personal interaction with family and friends adjust my perspective. A cadre of special colleagues meets during the year to share experiences as lawyers/judges/professors and the relaxation of museums, plays, nature, etc.”

JONATHAN SCHRAUB

“I believe this is more difficult for lawyers than most other professions. It is all too easy to let all the energy and passion in your life be consumed by the demands of work. Much like recovery programs or dieting, large, long term goals don’t work. The best advice is focusing on “one day at a time” and doing the best every day, in small ways, to appreciate and pay attention to those in your life outside of work.”

RUPEN R. SHAH

“Plan your day. Make a list of things to do every day. Do not take work home. Get up early. Exercise. Love life and laugh.”

BROOKS MEREDITH SMITH

“Early in my professional career, I got involved in community service, and I’ve been heavily involved ever since. I serve on a number of different boards and foundations around town, and being integrated in the community in this way enriches both my personal and professional life.”

JUDGE JAMES R. SPENCER

“You have to put in place your priorities. Your priorities should not only be constantly in your view, but also your professional colleagues should know what matters most to you. My family comes first, period. Football games, school plays, piano competitions, Boy Scout camp-outs, swim meets, tennis matches and the father-daughter dance, are all life events where there are no do-overs. Either you are there to support your family or you are not.”

WILLIAM STAUFFER

“Decide early on which one is more important.”

SCOTT SUROVELL

“I try to go hide in the Adirondacks for at least three weeks per year. I find the water, woods and mountains to be rejuvenating and the family time invaluable.”

CHUCK ZAUZIG

“Early mornings to make sure other interests get taken care of—for me guitar and training (running, biking, swimming). By doing it first thing, it’s in the “bank” so to speak and you don’t have to worry about the rest of the day getting away from you so you can’t get to it.”


Leaders in the Law 2016

THOMAS BONDURANT

“Unfortunately I have none.”

HARRIS D. BUTLER III

“Always putting your family first – and never missing a child’s event or special moment – a difficult task for one whose schedule is more often dictated by court deadlines than my calendar! But worth it!”

DAVID CANFIELD

“When you leave the office, leave the office. “Do Not Disturb” is a wonderful cell phone feature.”

VICTOR O. CARDWELL

“I wish there were absolutes like: be home in time for dinner every night or make every football or soccer game, but the fact is in today’s legal market you have to constantly seek balance. A good lawyer must be responsive to the client’s call at almost any time. But a good father and husband must be willing to be as responsive to his family. I try to be sure that I am at the school events, sharing in the house chores and simply being around and engaged. Put your phone and tablet down sometime before bed time so that you can look your loved ones in the eye and show them, not just tell them that you love them.”

SHERRY A. FOX

“I don’t believe that “balancing your professional life and your personal life” is a realistic goal. The very supposition suggests that you can reach equilibrium between the two, which I do not believe is attainable. I simply strive to do my best in each sphere of my life, while acknowledging that the results will not always be perfect.”

STEPHANIE E. GRANA

“There is no balance – please know that going into the law and do the best you can. Some days, I am a good wife and mother and some days, I am a good lawyer. On a great day from time to time – I am great at both.”

JOHN T. JESSEE

“Always put family first.”

BRIAN H. JONES

“I have no tips. I am terrible at it. I work 60 hours per week and typically do not see my family from Monday morning to Thursday evening. Putting the time in during the week helps make me more available to them on the weekends, though.”

REGINALD JONES

“Marrying an understanding spouse.”

LORRI J. KLEINE

“Take time out for friends and family events no matter how pressing the demands seem to be. Maintain an exercise routine and engage in hobbies outside of work.”

DECLAN LEONARD

“Lawyers love to say how busy they are (myself included), but there is a big difference between being busy and being productive. I have learned over the years that you can be productive each day and still make it home for dinner most nights.”

MICHAEL J. LINDER

“Lawyers and advocates of all stripes regularly encounter other people’s tragedies and horrors. We encounter people on their worst days. It is very important to maintain healthy relationships with those we love as a buffer for all the tragedy we all bear witness to every day.”

MARCUS LONG

“Always, always take time for your family. Plan family outings and vacations on a regular basis. Family time is precious, and can never be replaced. Also, find a hobby doing something that you love.”

R. PEYTON MAHAFFEY

“‘Take vacations.’ I read an article once that thousands of us fail to take vacations every year in the mistaken belief that we lawyers are indispensable – almost always a wrong assumption. Take the vacation, don’t check email, voice mail, and social media fanatically, and enjoy your time away.”

MARY T. MORGAN

“Make a point to take time off, and when you take time off, don’t spend the time thinking about work, checking in with work, or wondering what is happening at work.”

JAY PRABHU

“Still working on it.”

GENE SCHLEPPENBACH

“Taking time off – true time off, not just moving work to a “vacation” location — is critical. We have become a profession where we are rarely not accessible to our clients. Embracing this is one of the keys to becoming a trusted advisor because our clients are experiencing the same condition with their clients and customers. But this ‘always on’ condition means that we need to totally unplug from time-to-time to recharge.”

CULLEN SELTZER

“Real balance is an elusive promise. We want to have fulfilling professional and family and community and personal lives. We want to do good work in all those spheres. It’s just true, though, that time spent on one of those efforts is, inevitably, time taken away from the others. I try to prioritize the things that are most important and try to keep a varied enough set of things going on so that, on average, there’s fulfillment to be had somewhere in the effort. The best strategy, of course, is to surround yourself with good people, at work, at home, in the community, upon whom you can rely for support and guidance and friendship. That’s not exactly a glimmering insight, but for me, good family, friends, colleagues, and community are the predicate upon which everything else is dependent and for which everything else is built.”

KRISTINA SPITLER

“Make the best decisions you can with the information and resources that you have at the time. Do not beat yourself up when you have not done such a good job of balancing your professional life and your personal life. Finally, frequently reassess and make adjustments if you can.”

MELISSA VANZILE

“I think we are all working to achieve this and there is no one tip that will work for everyone. For me, when I am at work, my focus is on helping my clients but when I am at home, my focus is on my family. I have a definite beginning and ending to my work day and I don’t take my work home with me. It also helps that I have a great partner in my husband.”

SUSHEELA VARKY

“Work out. Don’t put it off. Don’t make lame excuses. Just. Do. It (to borrow Nike’s slogan).”

JAMES WEINBERG

“An understanding spouse. Setting realistic expectations with your family, partners and clients for both your professional and personal life and then meeting them. I think this entails communicating as clearly as you can what you can do and when, and then doing it – whether it is making the school play, cheering at a soccer game, or delivering a document to a client on time.”

JOHN ZYDRON

“Treat every aspect of life with the same level of importance and learn to share, make time for each other and just ‘do it.’”


Leaders in the Law 2017

JUDGE PENNEY S. AZCARATE

“Something has to give; you cannot do it all. It is okay if the house has a few dust bunnies or the brownies for the PTA meeting are from the grocery store. You have to set priorities and set aside time for yourself. You will be a better attorney or judge if you take the time to take care of yourself.”

CARLOS M. BROWN

“My tip for balancing work and personal life is that I don’t try to balance, I just do what has to be done when it needs to be done and I prioritize my family and kids. If my kid has a soccer game or a dance recital I go, but if I have a deal and they don’t have a game I may work until 9pm (or later). I take my girls to school or the bus every morning and kiss every one of my kids goodnight. I used to coach my son’s little league football team. Frequently I would have on a suit and tie on the football field, the kid’s thought I was imitating Tom Laundry, but the truth was I had come straight from work to the game. There were even days when I left the field and went back to work but the important thing for him and for me was that I never missed a game.”

BRENDA CASTANEDA

“I make no claims to having mastered the art of work-life balance, but I do make it a priority to be home in time for family dinner each night, even when I must go back to work afterward.”

TIMOTHY S. COYNE

“Learn that you have to put things down at some point, and always call your wife to let her know when you will be home.”

THOMAS M. DUNLAP

“Exercise, meditate, find something that is just for you and you alone that lets you escape work and family for a little while each day.”

DENNIS FITZPATRICK

“You must – MUST – spend time every week focusing on your health. At a minimum: unplug, take a long walk, and reflect on your physical and mental well-being.”

BILL FRALIN

“Make a list of priorities for life and schedule based on that.”

DANIEL FRANKL

“Everything in moderation. My best tip for balancing your professional life and your personal life is to work hard while you are at work but not to forget to “make time” for family and friends. No one on their deathbed ever exclaimed, “I wish I had spent more time in the office” but many have expressed they wished they had spent more time with family and friends.”

JIM GUY

“It is impossible to balance these components of life. They can only be integrated. Done intentionally and with a degree of self-compassion, integration can be enough.”

GREG HABEEB

“Honestly, I’m probably not the best person to answer this question as it is, without a doubt, my greatest daily struggle. But I can say that, over the last few years, I’ve simply made a conscious effort to prioritize my day and to be as present as I can in my kids’ lives. Rather than allowing everything to equally pull at me, I’ve decided that my kids and family will come first and everything else will be fit in around that. I won’t lie and say it always works but I believe we’ve achieved a level of balance that we couldn’t have achieved without specifically and explicitly prioritizing and holding fast to these priorities.”

BRIAN M. HIRSCH

“There is no easy answer for this. If you want to do both well, it takes a lot of time and energy. Figure out how to get by on 6 or 7 hours of sleep and to stay in high gear the rest of the time. Also, know your limits, and realize that sometimes work comes first and sometimes family comes first. Also, give yourself a break sometimes so you don’t go crazy.”

LA BRAVIA JENKINS

“Frankly, I am not a master of the work-life balance. When I am immersed in a case, nothing and no one is capable of distracting me. It is far more comfortable to indulge my profession now that my children are grown up. While they were still young, I found that it was essential to prioritize tasks, and understand the difference between a deadline and a long term goal. Deadlines are a fact of life and affect the short term, like a sprint. Goals require sustained effort akin to a marathon. My deadlines are mainly confined to work, while my goals usually relate to my personal life. While both are important, understanding the difference helps to better prioritize.

A simple example is routine, not for the sake of routine, but to achieve a goal. As my children were growing up, I wanted them to be healthy and alert for school every day on the theory that they would be able to do well in school, and hopefully, eventually, they would succeed in life. To achieve that goal, my husband and I missed many social engagements over the years to ensure that the children went to bed on time every night. Few things were more important, so we prioritized routine.

The beauty of deadlines is that they approach, loom, and then vanish. Just like the monster in a bad dream. Deadlines often keep me awake well into the night to get a decent and thoughtful brief filed on time to the Court of Appeals, or to argue a particularly troubling motion to suppress before the circuit court. I cannot sustain my body with continuous 2 am bedtimes, but I can do it occasionally to meet important deadlines. So balancing professional and personal life requires this question: is this a sprint or a marathon? Perhaps the hardest part is answering.”

NOSUK PAK KIM

“I try not to bring files home – it’s probably not possible, but your spouse and children need your attention.”

BRADFORD KING

“The only sage advice I have for balancing professional and personal life is to be passionate about your interests and find the employment situation that best facilitates your unique requirements. Having practiced law for approaching 25 years now, I have seen folks reach that balance in all different settings. I have made several moves in my own career and full well realize that one must be confident enough to insist on what he requires, rather than having that dictated entirely to him. Clearly, this is not an easy goal to achieve. Ultimately, it rests on the maxim ‘To Thine Own Self Be True.’”

JIM LANG

“Do not take work home.”

KIM MACLEOD

“I don’t think there’s any such thing as work-life balance. I’ve come to loathe the term. Balance is something you have to evaluate retrospectively and holistically. I hope for symmetry but the key is knowing that you sometimes have to settle for a B+ instead of an A.”

MICHELE McKINNON

“While technology has in many ways made it more difficult to disengage from work, I have always tried to be at home for dinner, homework, etc. Technology has actually made it easier to be available to your family by being home and working from home to meet client and firm demands. So my advice would be to use technology to your advantage, because it allows you to work from anywhere.”

MARTHA JP McQUADE

“Take care of yourself. It’s the hardest thing to do, especially if your field of practice involves taking care of other people (as Family Law certainly does) and emergencies in other people’s lives routinely keep you late at the office. But it’s essential to include blocks of time in your calendar for your own doctor appointments, vacations, and even time out of the office just because you need it.”

STEVE OTERO

“Identify the few things that you hold most dear – the things that renew your energy and spirit, and “fill your cup” – and make those things a priority. The rest will take care of itself.”

BREWSTER RAWLS

“Try very hard to come home at a reasonable time and eat dinner with your family. Especially when your children are younger all those evening rituals and tasks are a very big deal.”

LAWRENCE ROBERTS

“I enjoy when there is significant overlap between my professional work and my civic activities. But I have also found it important to set aside time to tend to personal matters and recharge. I try to create a home environment where I can feel relaxed and inspired.”

CRAIG SAMPSON

“Invest in good paralegals and administrative employees. Strong support staff are essential to running a successful practice and being able to enjoy life.”

JOHN SHEA

“Don’t ask me, I am the last person to ask.”

SHANNON L. TAYLOR

“Well, I confess, I do not think I do a very good job at that task! However, I am mindful that one must be able to take a break from the grind and turn off your brain. You should make sure that you have a great set of friends, a supportive family, and loved ones who you can spend time with doing enjoyable activities.”

MIKE TERRY

“Find something that you love that involves physical activity but also requires thinking and learning. Horse training and competition did that for me. It was a very different activity that allowed me to separate myself from work, but kept my mind constantly engaged in a different way.”


Leaders in the Law 2018

NUPUR S. BAL

“I believe this to be a challenge for anyone who works, but especially for women. Balance is important. I wholeheartedly believe that the key is to develop creative solutions as one balances the responsibilities and joys of fulfilling many roles. One must immerse themselves in a support network, let go of guilt, establish boundaries, get organized, be flexible, set priorities, and keep things in perspective.”

POLLY CHONG

“Have a spiritual life. For me, this is key. It helps me to focus on what is important, especially when life comes at you from different directions.”

MARTIN A. CONN

“Honor all commitments for your family and children and be proud to tell your clients that your family comes first. Most clients feel the same way.”

CRAIG B. DAVIS

“I sure hoping the other honorees have some good responses to this one! … For me, though it comes down to only sleep when you have to work at being relentlessly positive, and try to bring that same zealousness to spending time with your family and outside activities that you do to your cases.”

MARLA DIAZ

“Do not look at your cell phone after 9 p.m. or before 8 a.m.”

HUMES J. “TRIPP” FRANKLIN III

“Take at least one vacation every year and avoid spending time in the office on the weekends. Take up a hobby or coach a youth sport.”

C. ERIK GUSTAFSON

“I try to focus on work life integration, rather than trying to find a balance. My sons know many of my colleagues because they’ve eaten at or stayed with us. My family never felt like they were competing with my time because they have gotten to know so many of the folks with whom I’ve worked, whether at the firm, clients or colleagues in the bar or other organizations.”

CHIDI I. JAMES

“Try to be 100% present when you are spending time with the family. Having to work at home and on the weekends is inevitable in our line of work, but during those times when I am talking with the kids or my wife I try hard not to multitask.”

MICHAEL P. LAFAYETTE

“You have to accept that you cannot be at all family events or at all of your kids’ school activities, but you keep your word and attend those that you carve out time to attend. Kids understand work, but they also love having you at their events. You need also to make time with your spouse, even if it’s just a simple dinner or a glass of wine.”

MATTHEW W. LEE

“Don’t try and create a rigid line of demarcation separating the two, keeping in mind that both require your time and attention to varying degrees, depending upon the circumstances at the time.”

DAVID LUDWIG

“Balance, for me, is not about carving out some secret private “me time” when I shut out the demands of the world. Service is fulfilling and energizing, and balance is not necessarily about balancing work and rest. Balance is what Gary Matthews taught me: balancing professional service (to clients and my firm) with philanthropic service (teaching and serving non-profits) and personal service to my family. Giving back to the community and spending time with family provides balance against the rigors of the profession. Even though they are also a form of work, teaching, helping out with ECHO (the nonprofit I work with, which provides job placement and life skills training for adults with developmental disabilities), and helping organize events and service projects for my kids’ scouting groups balance out all the crazy client demands and confrontational interactions with opposing counsel.”

K. BRETT MARSTON

“Communicate about what is going. Whether you need more time away from work to pay attention to family and personal items, or need to sacrifice more of your personal/family time to handle pressing items at work, it is essential to let your work family and/or your actual family know what is going on and why. It is worse to try to balance those without letting the other family know what is challenging you, and that can make it much more stressful on you. You’ll usually find that there’s someone there to help, or at least understand so long as they know what is going on.”

JAMES M. McCAULEY

“Well in advance, plan and reserve dates and times on your calendar to commit to friends, family, church and community. Keep those dates and commitments.”

C. KAILANI MEMMER

“Practice with others who share your values. I am committed to my at home family life (which includes my wife, our daughter, my 81-year-old mom and three dogs), my church, my community and my volunteer activities. Like so many of my peers, I am squeezed on both ends by a child and an elderly parent while sustaining a marriage and being a full time litigators. I have partners who, like me, have never missed a game or concert or child activity. They care for their families and communities and seek additional opportunities to serve others. They support me and often directly help my mom or daughter and participate in my charitable work. I am blessed beyond measure by the support of my law partners. Not only do they share my values — they inspire me.”

RANDY PARKS

“I can’t say that I’ve been particularly good at this! Sometimes you have to run hard in all aspects of your life. It helps to have someone to remind you when one part gets more attention than it should (Thanks, Mary Lloyd!).”

NANCY G. PARR

“Have a supportive family and find and cultivate true friends. I also find that a glass of wine and some exercise help.”

JOANNA SUYES

“Forgive yourself for not getting it right. No one ever does.”

KELLY A. THOMPSON

“I wish I knew. The only blessing I had when my daughter was young was how much they charged in late pickup fees – otherwise who knew how late I would have been every night.”

ANTHONY F. TROY

“I’ve never really found a good balance, and know that I’m a “workaholic” Luckily I have an understanding family and we are able to get away on weekends to Wintergreen for relaxation and my son loves and is on the Wintergreen ski team.”