Making Life Work - The Perpetual Balancing Act

Mar. 11, 2014

Making Life Work- The Perpetual Balancing Act
Alumni Hall, Vic College
by Kim Snell, Director, Centre for the Legal Profession

“Making Life Work: The Perpetual Balancing Act” held at the Faculty of Law on March 11 featured distinguished panelists, The Honourable Madam Justice Rosalie Abella, Jean Fraser, Trisha Jackson and moderator, Sheila Gibb.  The audience of over 100 people included students, alumni, and practicing lawyers heard important advice on the challenges of juggling a law career with the demands of raising a family and outside interests.

 Here is my list of the Top Ten Things I Learned from the panel: 

  1. There is no perfect balance or optimal stage.  It is a perpetual compromise.
  2. Everyone defines success in their own way.  Decide what this looks like for you.
  3. Infrastructure – you need it.  Find a supportive partner, extended family, friends, nanny.
  4. Learn to delegate.  At work and at home.  You do not have to do it all.
  5. Figure out how much you love your legal career.  It is much harder to do it, if you don’t like it.
  6. The toughest stage may be the “bottleneck” for senior associates when there is increased responsibility at work and the home pressures of a young family.  Make it through here and it does get easier.
  7. Think about your own chemistry, relationships, and the culture of your work place to make something that works for you.
  8. It is not just a women’s issue.  It is challenge for everyone who has a demanding career.
  9. Be supportive. Work is not the only thing going on in the lives of your colleagues either.
  10. Technology may be a liberator or a noose.  Be present – wherever you are.