Stop Working Weekends

· 469 words · about 2 minutes

Creative Legal Education passionately wants a healthier legal profession. Team Creative urges attorneys to consider using weekends to rejuvenate your mind and body, through things like meditation, could actually make you more productive during the week. Above the Law has this to say:

Work on the weekends forces us to make excuses and back out of social commitments and to never be able to really settle down from the work week. Work on the weekends ensures that there is really no break from the week. Consistent work on the weekends all but ensures that we will become run down and unhealthy.

U.S. News has this to say about weekend work:

Some employees may think logging weekend hours is good for their career, but plenty of research suggests it's bad for their health. One study by Marianna Virtanen of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health and colleagues, for example, found that people who work long hours are 12 percent more likely to become heavy drinkers. Similar research found an association between overwork and sleeping problems, depression and heart disease. And another study found an association between overwork by low-income workers and Type 2 diabetes. "If you don’t have a start and an end to a week, then it’s just one long continuous work week, which can be problematic,” says Jonathan Alpert, a psychotherapist and performance coach in New York City.

While all professions can feel pressure to work weekends, it seems unique to the legal industry. Here, again, is Above the Law:

In many other types of “non-law” jobs, there is much less of a need or cultural requirement to show up in the office on a Sunday afternoon as a means to get a head up on others in climbing the corporate ladder. Of course hard work, smart work, dedication, self-starting, discipline and follow-up are all required to succeed, but the various business models and structural requirements and client expectations of other (non-law firm) organizations do not require consistent work on the weekends.

The trade off, traditionally, for "not working weekends" within the law profession is less pay. The Atlantichas previously observed that "[t]he cost of all this personal time [from not working weekends] comes in the form of a smaller salary."

As Team Creative views it, the choice to not work weekends is not a question of "Work/Life Balance." It actually is an ethical question: attorneys must provide competent service to their clients. (RPC 1.1.) An overworked, emotionally and physically unhealthy attorney arguably cannot provide the sort of clear-minded, quality service that arises to the level of competency needed to satisfy the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Make 2020 the year of better emotional, mental, and physical health. Research suggests by making those improvements, the quality of your law practice may increase as well.

Get Wise: Mindfulness for Attorneys