Stop Whining, Start Asking

David Giacalone has this post on how law firm associates ought to start taking responsibility for their long hours rather than expecting the “powers-that-be” to do it for them.  David offers this qutoe by MCI counsel Anastasia Kellfrom a recent article in Washington Lawyer (Jan. 2005) (the D.C. Bar magazine) on The Tyranny of the Billable Hour:

Referring to lawyers who work for her at MCI, and who reported to her when she partnered at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, Kelly says emphatically, “The quality of your life is your responsibility! It is not my responsibility to give you a quality of life.  If you don’t have a quality of life, it’s your responsibility to come to me and say, “I don’t have a quality of life, and it’s because you’re making me work 80 hours a week.  So many people say it’s the responsibility of a law firm or a company to make sure that their people have a quality of life. It is a two-way street! “Moreover, says Kelly, any lawyer who feels an employer?s demands on his or her time are too burdensome always has the option to walk out the door and go find a place that gives you quality of life. That’s your responsibility: to go.

I couldn’t agree more.  Quality of life isn’t the reason that I went solo but it’s one of the reasons I’ve stayed put.  And portraying solo practice as a viable and appealing option for lawyers unhappy with the drudgery of the large firms is in large part my motivation behind My Shingle.