It’s commonly understood that being a lawyer is a demanding job, regardless of the lawyer’s place of work. We work long hours while at the same time it’s expected of us to maintain a high level of professionalism and quality. For any lawyer who has had an opportunity to manage and operate their own law practice, they know that in addition to the general long working hours applicable to all legal professionals, we also must ensure that we dedicate a significant amount of time to administrative tasks, client relationship management and general business management. If only we had more time in a day.
I started my own law practice being a second year call. There was a lot of learning on the go, a lot of CPDs, a lot of research, a lot of time and dedication and of course a lot of stress. I consider myself a very fortunate lawyer. I built a steady law practice in a few short years, hired a team of exceptional support staff and retained a rather large amount of friendly and trusting long term clients. A dream come true for most entrepreneurs: clients that you enjoy working with, support staff that are highly skilled and a profitable business.
The success of my law practice of course came at a price. The constant look of disappointment on my friends’ faces when I’m late yet again, the sound of disapproval when I have to cancel plans once again, the subtle but very obvious stinging sensation in my knees and wrists from constantly sitting in the same position, the non-stop complaints from my partner about my inability to carve out quality time, etc. Even when I was able to squeeze in a vacation, I was not allowed to go anywhere without my laptop with me and without my phone constantly in my hands. Even with great staff, ultimate decision making is on my shoulders and as it is a personal service business, clients would rather speak with me than my staff.