4 essentials to help you master work-life balance

The days of young associates anchored to their desks, consumed at all hours with work, are fading into the past. If you want to appeal to the up-and-coming attorney demographic, providing a work-life balance will need to be your firm’s new modus operandi.

In the white paper “Striking the right balance between work and home,” we discuss ways to make a healthy work-life balance a reality at your firm.

A Thomson Reuters Legal Department 2025 Series study found that 50% of millennial attorneys would change jobs for more work-life balance. That should be a wake-up call to all firms who haven’t yet considered the expectations for the well-being of the millennial attorney. To lure top talent among the digital generation, you will need to improve efficiency — and the best place to start is by investing in technology.

But where does a firm begin? Below are four essential tips that will help bring your firm into the 21st century.

1. Embrace legal artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) no longer resides on the science fiction shelf; it has become a powerful and life-changing reality, especially for attorneys. Hours spent on legal research, litigation strategy, and more can now be reduced using AI platforms such as Westlaw Precision.

AI-powered technology frees up valuable time by getting you to the answers faster with greater accuracy and efficiency, giving you time for more important matters. This state-of-the-art technology has become a game changer for attorneys and the legal industry at large. If you want to improve the work-life balance at your firm, this is a great place to start.

2. Implement online chat and legal call centers

Online chat and legal call centers provide a way for you to stay connected to the office even when you or your associates aren’t there in person. They allow you to step away without missing that urgent call. Here’s food for thought: without around-the-clock availability, that big case could go to the firm down the street.

With that said, legal call centers also make it possible to unplug for a while each day by giving you the confidence that no call will go unanswered. The result is peace of mind and the freedom to be fully present in your downtime.

3. Invest in the cloud

Today, being able to manage your practice from anywhere is a necessity. With cloud-based software, the possibilities are endless. You and your associates no longer need to reside at the office to track and invoice billable hours, manage matters, or create firm documents. Those tasks can now be accomplished from the bleachers on game day.

Numerous web-based options are available, but not all are created equal, so exercise due diligence. Make sure the features are compatible with your specific needs and the size of your firm. The right software will reduce the time spent on administrative tasks, allowing your associates the flexibility to focus on practicing law and billable activities.

4. Pay attention to your health and well-being

Now that we’ve covered technology, here are other ways you can make simple changes to improve work-life balance.

  • Block off time from your calendar each day and use it to take a jog at the park or indulge in your favorite hobby. The key is to treat those blocks of time as appointments so that you aren’t tempted to dismiss them as insignificant.
  • Learn to say no. This suggestion doesn't mean you need to pass on a lucrative case. Instead, it’s about setting realistic boundaries and protecting your time so you position yourself to do your best work.
  • Finally, be healthy. Set a sleep schedule for yourself and stick to it. Exercise and maintain your nutrition. Carve out time for a social life and nurture your relationships.

Creating a firm that places a premium on work-life balance doesn’t need to be difficult.

With just a few adjustments, your firm can be a step ahead of the rest and a much more attractive destination for the next generation of associates.

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