Inside: A Life of Many Hats
“I’m a working parent.” What a loaded phrase. Aren’t all parents “working” parents, despite the details of how they spend their days? A more accurate phrase would be, “I am a parent with multiple jobs.” Parenting itself encompasses numerous job descriptions: safety manager (gotta keep the kids alive!), activities director, emotional support person, mess cleaner – just to name a few. On top of that, most reading this article also have the full-time job of being a lawyer, which for most of us takes the time and energy of two-jobs. It’s a constant balance of work and home and can feel like we’re the peddler in Caps For Sale, walking through the town square wearing 16 caps all at once, careful not to drop any. Forgive me for referencing a 30-year-old children’s book; this is my life now.
So, how do we do it? For me, my balance and sanity came from going virtual. I started this transition in January 2020 (what fortuitous timing) and haven’t looked back. This model of work allows me to recapture and reallocate my former commute time, take a break and check in with my kids in the middle of the day, and arrange my schedule with flexibility to focus on work and family as needed.
When first making the pivot to virtual work, I made six initial considerations: managing and meeting client expectations, implementation of technology, cost, time management, work/life balance, and mental health.
There has never been more technology available to facilitate a virtual working environment than there is now; take advantage of it! I recommend an internet phone service (like Google Voice), virtual meeting software (Zoom), e-signature software (DocuSign), document management (Adobe Acrobat DC), lead management and intake software (Clio Grow), practice management software (Clio Manage, MyCase, etc.), cloud services (OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.), and a virtual workspace with an answering service and live receptionist to accept service on your behalf. In my experience, the costs of these services is well worth the benefits you receive. Outsourcing management and admin tasks opens up more time for family and flexibility.
Virtual work requires structure, dedicated work-from-home space, and can be isolating. However, for those of us wearing the lawyer hat and the parent hat, it can be transformative. Just like parenting, finding your balance is a very personal process. It is not one size fits all.
Navigating parenthood and career takes work. It presents special challenges and offers great rewards and opportunities. In this issue we will explore the intersection of parenthood and the law.
- Explore the interesting perspectives of three dual-generation lawyer families in Shannon Wolfrum’s article: Growing up Legal: Perspectives from Practice from Two Generations of Lawyers
- Learn about designing the law firm that works for you with Jen Lee and her article: That’s Not How We Do Things (and Other Nonsense Lawyer Parents Should Ignore)
- Navigate the laws around parental leave and lactation accommodations with David Marchiano, Marissa Boyd, and Danielle Jones in their article: Navigating Pregnancy, Parental Leave, and the Return to Work (MCLE Self-Study Credit)
- Discover what unique challenges and opportunities face a lawyer-parent whose child needs additional support from their school district in Sabrina Axt’s article: An Attorney Parent’s Guide to Surviving the Special Education Process
- Understand the adoption process with an in-depth look at private adoptions in Matthew Talbot and Pa’tanisha Davis Pierson’s article: Demystifying Private Adoption
We hope you enjoy this issue. To all those wearing and balancing your many hats, we salute you!