Staying whole

For a hard-charging leader, finding peace and balance requires the same intent and planning as success at the office
Mar 5, 2013 10:45 AM

Justice Scalia’s recent life/work balance comments strike some as curious

U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Scalia’s view on the proper place law should occupy in one’s life might surprise some — this from an American Lawyer magazine blog post linked here.

During a speech earlier this month at the University of Chicago Law School’s Federal Society meeting, Scalia — the personable justice who is seemingly always smiling — gave some unexpected advice to those gathered after he had delivered his views on the Second Amendment. Here’s what he said, comments that surprised many:

“Try to find a practice that enables you to maintain a human existence ... time for your family, your church or synagogue, community ... Boy Scouts, little league,” Scalia said.

And after noting the beginnings of his own law career with the Jones Day firm in Cleveland, Scalia continued.

“You should look for a place like that (Jones Day). I’m sure they’re still out there. Maybe you have to go to Cleveland,” he said.

Cleveland jokes aside, Scalia isn’t kidding. The entire legal industry frequently wrestles with this work/life balance issue, including its relevance to the dwindling number of female partners now practicing. We've written before about the female partner issue and its pertinence to law firm economics and the future of law.

Scalia’s view gives credence to those who are thinking of redefining the meaning of “successful lawyer.” Even in larger firms, partner tracks are under scrutiny and in some cases undergoing significant reworking. Scalia didn’t allude to the female partner dilemma, but it’s interesting that a Supreme Court Justice who rose to that position by way of a life-consuming passion for the law espouses this less-than-traditional view.

Feb 16, 2012 2:50 PM