Civil litigation attorney, Kerith Kentish, shares how making time for family helps prevent solo attorney burnout.
The most important thing I learned after becoming a solo attorney is to always remember to make time for family and friends. This helps with solo attorney burnout in so many ways.
It would be easy for a solo attorney to work all the time because there is always something that needs to be done, whether you’re handling client matters or business development. However, spending too much time alone and working too many hours is not only unhealthy, but also counterproductive.
One of the major side effects of solo attorney burnout is withdrawing from social contacts. If you do not prioritize spending time with family and friends outside of work, then you run the risk of feeling isolated. You must remind yourself of two things: 1. Your job isn’t everything, and 2. Making time for personal relationships is a key part of being successful.
Here are a few things I do to make family time a priority:
Make time for the little things
We often don’t realize how meaningful even the smallest interactions with loved ones can be. I am lucky because my office, my house and my grandmother’s house are all on the same road so I am able to integrate family time into my daily routine.
When I can, I try to eat lunch with my grandmother. I also leave work early enough to put my niece to bed at night. Because, how else can I be the favorite uncle?
These daily interactions with my family create a moment for me to de-stress. They bring me out of my work environment for only a short amount of time, but afterwards I always feel renewed and more productive.
Designate specific days for family
For me, Sundays are family Sundays. We all meet at my grandmother’s house for a potluck meal, complete with cute little kids blessing the food.
I have a huge family: aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, nieces, parents and friends who have become family. The ‘distraction’ of spending time with loved ones is calming.
I think my family members also appreciate that I set aside time for them. They know I consider them a priority because I don’t put my law practice before these family traditions.
Unplug from technology
One of the biggest challenges of taking time away from my law practice for my family was learning how to truly be present. I had to constantly fight the urge to check my work email.
An effective way to avoid solo attorney burnout is to value your out-of-office time and stay unplugged from work. This will make you feel more connected to your family. You don’t fully realize the things you miss because you’re responding to a client email.
My family now has a strict no cellular phone policy for a few hours during each gathering. This helps take my mind off of work and really enjoy being in their company.
About Kerith T. Kentish
Kerith T. Kentish is a Civil Litigator and ADR professional practicing predominantly in a highly respected family firm in Anguilla. He obtained his LLB from the University of the West Indies (Barbados), his LLM from the Schulich School of Law (Canada) and his LEC from the Hugh Wooding Law School (Trinidad). He is admitted to practice as a Barrister in the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in the circuits of Anguilla (2012) and the British Virgin Islands (2013). Kerith is currently the Vice President of the Anguilla Bar Association, a Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and a solo practitioner with Joyce Kentish & Associates.