A Softer Side: The End?

Work/life balance. It used to be a topic that filled this blog, but I’ve barely written about in the past few months. Of course we all know the reason why, however, the question now becomes: what will happen to the debate. Jordan Furlong has written a great post on his blog, Law21, concerning the legacy of work/life balance and his concerns over the current status.

One paragraph that really caught my eye:

There are two institutional flaws in our system that hurt our newest colleagues. First, there’s the unspoken symbiosis between law schools and law firms — the former charge students huge amounts of money and provide little practical lawyer training, allowing the latter to hire low-skilled and heavily indebted graduates to fill virtually the only positions lucrative enough to pay off their loans. And secondly, billable-hour targets for associates at more than a few firms simply can’t be achieved without damage to one’s health or ethics, or both. These problems are neither natural nor inevitable — they result from our neglect of the system, and they annually damage our profession’s standards and morale. (my emphasis)

As Mr. Furlong so succinctly states, the problems of work/life balance are institutionalized and are damaging to the profession as a whole, not a few. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the profession as a whole to continue to work to make positive changes.

Maybe we have seen the death of the work/life balance debate…maybe it will continue when the economy recovers, who can really say.


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