Illinois Bar Journal

October 2021Volume 109Number 10Page 8

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President's Page

Keeping It All Balanced

Looking out for family, friends, and clients means looking out for yourself, too.

Anna P. Krolikowska

Friendly flight attendants routinely instruct us to “secure your own oxygen mask before assisting others.” This sage advice also applies to our professional and personal lives. Can we truly represent the best interests of our clients without first securing our own personal well-being? Can we give our best to our families without first securing our own well-being? It is my belief that we cannot: We must first secure our personal well-being in order to provide our clients with the competent assistance they are owed and our families with the attention they deserve.

From the moment I decided to run to be ISBA’s third vice-president for the 2018-2019 bar year, I knew addressing life-work balance in the profession would be a primary goal of my presidential year. As a female lawyer owning and operating her own law firm, I was all too familiar with the pressures of performing at a top level. But when my daughter Lily was born this spring, balancing my responsibilities to my clients with those I now owed to my daughter (and to my family as a whole) became even more imperative. Far too many good attorneys pour all their energy into their practice and leave far too little for their personal lives. This has only been exacerbated by the additional stressors brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now more than ever, I am convinced that decisions we make to maintain a positive life-work balance today will pay great dividends in our professional and personal lives tomorrow. There is more to our lives than work; figuring out that balance contributes to a happy and fulfilling life. Can we do it all? Should we do it all? Even if the answer is yes, we can’t do it all at the same time. Recognizing what we can do, creating coping strategies, realizing how and when to ask for help, and giving ourselves grace are even more important now when our professional and personal lives have become enmeshed more than ever before.

Pandemic warriors need breaks, too

To promote a healthy life-work balance, the ISBA has enlisted nationally known life-work consultant Debbie Epstein Henry, J.D., who will provide a complimentary virtual program for all ISBA members and their families. Debbie is a best-selling author, public speaker, consultant, and podcast host on careers, workplace dynamics, women, and the law (see debbieepsteinhenry.com for more information about her). Her program, “Hey Pandemic Warrior, What’s Next?,” will take place from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 6. Here are some things you will learn from her:

  • ways to maximize opportunities, maintain productivity, and navigate our way in these times of transition;
  • advice on how to delegate, relinquish control, and support each other to prioritize what really matters;
  • resiliency and perseverance strategies for greater success and satisfaction; and
  • ways to develop a more reasonable outlook on a fresh life.

The program also will include facilitated breakout sessions on how to live vigorously while maintaining a healthy dose of reality. Please register for this free program. I believe the lessons learned will be invaluable and urge you to attend. Your spouses, partners, and significant others are welcome to join us for this unique program. Eric and I are very much looking forward to Debbie’s program.

Additional resources

I also encourage all members to visit the ISBA’s Practice HQ page for wellness/work-life balance resources. You’ll find a series of videos to help you destress at your desk, relevant CLE programs that can be watched using your Free On-Demand CLE member benefit, and a thorough listing of articles on work-life balance from ISBA publications. I know you will be impressed by all the life-work balance content the ISBA has gathered for you.

Finally, the ISBA Solo & Small Firm Conference, which took place from Sept. 30–Oct. 1 included some great life-work balance sessions that will soon be added to the Free On-Demand CLE library. Keep an eye out for Roger Hall’s phenomenal presentation on staying happy and being productive and John Risvold’s session on running a profitable virtual practice.

If you could use additional help, please know that our friends at LAP are always available. To see what resources are available, visit LAP online.

In closing, I must provide an unfortunate update on the member receptions we had planned for this fall. With much disappointment, but with our well-being in mind, the ISBA has decided to postpone our member receptions until this coming spring. While I was so looking forward to seeing you all in person once again, we remain vigilant and will continue to keep our members’ health and safety at the forefront. I hope each and every one of you will join us on Oct. 6 for our life-work balance program where we can spend some quality time with one another—even if it must be remotely.

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