Work-life balance is critical to both personal health and happiness, and yet, for many Americans, it feels out of reach. Lawyers, in particular, lead jam-packed professional lives. In addition to client meetings, they dedicate dozens of hours each week to administrative tasks and business development. Martindale-Avvo’s 2019 Attorney Compensation Survey Report reveals that, although most attorneys spend fewer than 20 hours per week consulting directly with clients, 76 percent dedicate at least 20 hours each week to other forms of billable work. Beyond that, most devote between 10 and 19 hours to other pursuits, such as marketing or continuing education. Despite their extensive workload, even today’s busiest lawyers make an effort to carve out time for personal and social pursuits, as highlighted below:

Supporting Those Less Fortunate

Attorneys are passionate about their communities and determined to use their unique skill set to help those most in need. Often, their efforts take the form of pro bono work. Results from the Report also suggest that attorneys are deeply connected with charitable efforts initiated by religious organizations. Other top opportunities for giving back include working with local schools, foundations, and animal shelters. Attorneys who have been in practice longer, in particular, dedicate significant time to community service.

Family Time and Recreational Pursuits

With so many hours invested in work and community outreach, some attorneys struggle to set aside time for other pursuits. Still, they see the value in time spent away from the office. They can’t do it all, but many are able to pursue multiple activities of value outside of work. 

Based on Report responses, family time consistently wins out; 63 percent of respondents referenced family time as their main pursuit outside of work. Travel took second place, with 41 percent citing it as a non-work priority. When they’re not hanging out with family or going on vacation, attorneys enjoy exercising, reading, and eating out. Many also attend theater productions or visit museums. Still others have an outdoorsy streak that manifests itself in hunting, fishing, and gardening.

Legal work may be demanding, but that doesn’t stop today’s attorneys from leading rich and rewarding lives. Whether they’re hanging out with family members, giving back to the community, or simply relaxing with a glass of wine and a good book, attorneys know the value of time well spent outside of work. This ability to achieve work-life balance has left most feeling deeply satisfied with their career choice; 71 percent tell Martindale-Avvo that, given the ability to start over, they’d still pursue a legal career.

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