Work-life balance in the legal profession discussed at Cooley

Attorneys Lee B. Reimann, of counsel, Willingham and Cote, East Lansing, Michigan; and Lucas X. Dillon, Bailey and Terranova, Okemos, Michigan, were panelists during the discussion “Work-Life Balance” at WMU-Cooley’s Lansing campus on Oct. 17.

During the discussion, Reimann told students that it is important to establish boundaries and then maintain those boundaries and explained that she has an auto-reply that states any messages received between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m. will not be returned until after 8 a.m.

“Healthy boundaries help build strong client relationships because the client knows what to expect and is not disappointed when an email or text is not immediately returned,” said Reimann.
“Boundaries keep family time for families and client time for clients. Boundaries delineate what you are willing to accept from partners, other attorneys, and clients and what things you will not accept.
Boundaries are a life-ordering focus tool.”

Recognizing issues from when be began practicing law, Dillon noted that practicing law takes full-time attention and it is impossible to attempt to blend family time and work time. He said he tried to have an office in his home, but it failed after one month. Inevitably one of his children would knock on his office door or begin to cry when he was on the phone with a client and that was not professional.

Dillon said, “That learning when to turn down representation of a client is critical to work-life balance, especially for a new attorney who is building his or her practice. It is important to remember that client development comes from attending community events and meetings.”

Together, WMU-Cooley Law School’s Student Bar Association (SBA) and the Career and Development Office sponsored the presentation, which was moderated by Associate Dean Charles Toy.

“The Student Bar Association (SBA) at the Lansing campus is committed to ensuring our student members have the most realistic idea possible of the highs and lows that come with practice,” said SBA President Charles Hickman.

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