Is being a lawyer a 9-5 job? If so, how can I change that?
I heard that lawyers take on a 9-5 job whereas some don't. How, if law is a 9-5 job, can I make it more flexible? Is self-employment an option? #lawyer #criminal-justice #attorney #law
Like any job, the answer is "It depends". If you work form someone else, they set the rules. If they say "You have to work 9-5", then your options are a) take the job and work 9-5, or b) don't take the job.
Many places are allowing for greater flexibility, but from what I've seen, law firms are often not those. When my wife worked at a large firm, she was expected to BILL something like 35 hours a week. Since not everything you do is billable, she was working 60 or more hours a week - including both evenings and weekends.
If you work in a courtroom, as either a prosecutor or defender, again, your hours vary depending on the situation. When you work on a large case, you might have a lot of late hours. You go to court when your case is assigned, not when you necessarily want to.
You can have your own practice, and be your own boss. But a couple of things to remember: You get paid based on how much work you do...so if you only work four hours a day, you won't make as much as if you worked ten hours a day.
Also, you are paid by your clients. They can be quite demanding. Sometimes they call in the evenings, or weekends, or holidays. You have to decide if it's worth it. Will you take those "after hours" calls and keep the client, or are they not worth the hassle so you refuse their case/time requirements?
mitch recommends the following next steps:
Speaking or time, you want to develop now the habit of punctuality. The best attorneys arrive early. Not only should you not be late, but you should be early to any meeting, hearing, mediation, arbitration, etc. that you can. You need to have a moment to catch your breath, get the lay of the land, gather your confidence by feeling that you "own" the space where you are and, most of all, have an unhurried meeting to put your client at ease (and yourself). When you rush in just in time (or late), you don't think as well, your heart is too fast and breathing not calm. You don't have time to be organized and you look weak. All of the requires just a few extra minutes for every such encounter, and it's worth it.
If you organize your time well, and be choosy as to the kinds of cases you take (if you are in solo or small firm practice), you can still have time for your self and your family. Schedule in time for activities and just to spend time with your loved ones like you would any client. You'll be happier and more at peace. It's tough, but worth it. A big firm will probably bring you more money, but will suck up your time greedily. Frankly, so will your solo practice, if you let it.