Building a successful law firm requires hard work and dedication—but so does building a successful family. One of the greatest challenges attorneys face, especially during their early years, is the struggle to balance a busy law career while raising young children. While the problem favors no gender, female attorneys often feel the sting of this dilemma quite acutely. While women comprise nearly 45 percent of lawyers in private practice, only about 20 percent become partners, according to data compiled by the ABA. And as The Atlantic points out, a large number of female attorneys end up leaving their practices when they grow tired of trying to balance work and family. How do you divide your time in a way that neither your career or your family suffers?
Fortunately, you actually can run a law firm without sacrificing your family, and vice versa—but it requires self-discipline and often some creative thinking. Let’s look at a few tips that may help.
Automate Your Office
Too many solo attorneys, even those without families, tend to burn out simply because they got buried in the tedious workings of the office rather than focusing on their clients. Without some smart automation techniques in place, you’re basically running two full-time jobs in parallel: running an office and practicing law. The more you can automate the repetitive functions of your office (e.g., emails, phone calls, marketing, invoicing, etc.), the less time you’ll have to waste on those tedious details—and that’s time you could spend at home with your kids.
Hire Enough Staff
Newer firms are always trying to cut back on overhead, but that usually just means more work for you and less time for your family. Make sure you have enough staff in place so the office work gets covered during business hours and you can all go home at the end of the day. If budgets are tight, consider outsourcing some tasks like bookkeeping or answering phones to third-party agencies. When you implement a solid marketing strategy combined with enough manpower, you’ll find you can generate enough revenue to cover your office expenses and payroll while still having time for your children.
Another Option: Run Your Firm from a Home Office
If going to an office every day interferes with your ability to parent effectively, one alternative to consider is to move your office home. With today’s law offices relying more heavily on cloud-based applications, as Forbes points out, it’s easier than ever to set a law practice in a home office, extra bedroom or even a converted garage. It’s not the right solution for everyone, but for some attorneys a home office may provide the flexibility they need to juggle family and career effectively.
In short, the more efficiently your law firm runs, the less of a time drain it will be on your family life. To learn more about different ways to help your law firm thrive, call us at (888) 207-2869.