Tuesday, 24 September 2013

The Balancing Act

One of the most common phrases I heard in law school was “If you think you are busy now, just wait until you start articling – you will have no life!” I tried to ignore these negative cautions but was still more than a little apprehensive that I would have give up my life for the next 10 months to eat, sleep, and breathe at the office.

"...the key to maintaining a balance is learning how to manage your time efficiently in the office, so that you can get out of the office and back into the other aspects of your life."

Thankfully, my experience at MB has not been reflective of all the negative stereotypes surrounding articles. Although all articling students work hard (those of us at MB are no exception), we are also able and encouraged to find time to “play” and enjoy our lives. Personally, I find the key to maintaining a balance is learning how to manage your time efficiently in the office, so that you can get out of the office and back into the other aspects of your life. This is still something I have yet to master, (and I have definitely had to put plans with friends and family on hold because of work) but I am trying hard to find that perfect balance.

In order to have the life I want outside of work, I need to be aware of my own time limits when accepting work and keep in mind my goals for balance. While I want to take on as many assignments as I can and go to court as much as possible, it’s also important that I schedule in some “me” time, including horse-back riding, running, and dinner and drinks with friends. The most challenging balancing act I have faced so far was being in court for 3 full days last week. While it was a fantastic learning experience, being out of the office most of the day meant I needed to stay late each night after court, to keep on top of the rest of my work. So this week, while I was in court for my first (and second!) motion, because I knew what I could manage and worked around the schedule I set for myself, I was able to stay on top of my work and make it out of the office for dinner.

The bottom line is that while there are never enough hours in the day, time management is a skill we all need in order to succeed in this demanding profession. While I think law students generally overreact to the expectations of articling (as they do with other things, has anyone else been following the saga of pineapple appreciation at Osgoode?), the life of a lawyer requires long hours (and some sacrifices) and articling is no different. Creating a successful balance will allow you to enjoy all the things that matter most to you. Tonight, I have tickets to Avicii; tomorrow, I will be summarizing transcripts.
Alyssa C.

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