Forget your personal life if you want a career.
Working in the legal profession such as family law often involves long hours. This is especially true if you are ambitious and keen to reach the top of your chosen career. Leaving home early in the morning, skipping lunch and working late into the evening are often seen as prerequisites for a successful and lucrative career. Having a personal and family life is seen as a weakness that needs to be overcome in order to reach the top. Your career has to take priority above all else: those deadlines must be met; that research must be done; those meetings and presentations should become your life blood. Law firms can often be viewed as lacking in understanding when it comes to the demands of our partners and families. Your performance at work should be blemish free and unaffected by any aspect of your personal life. Is it your partner's birthday? That case must take priority. Does your child have a part in the school play? Your boss doesn't want to know. Is your mother ill? She'll have to wait for your attention.
Achieve a work/life balance in a driven manner
You shouldn't have to become a loner at risk of losing your family to have a career in the legal profession. It is possible to achieve a healthy work/life balance and to be successful. What can you do to make sure you don't have to choose your career over a 'life'?
You know how to research a case, how to find out all the salient facts and figures to ensure it stands up in court: apply this to your personal life. Research the best means of managing your time so that you can still meet the expectations of your partner, family and friends.
You know how to negotiate a great deal for a client, using carefully constructed, fact based arguments: do this for yourself. When you need time out to spend with your children, show your boss what you have done and how you're going to do to make sure you continue to meet the requirements of the job.
It is easy to become so absorbed in your work that personal time loses its value, as you lose the ability to 'switch off'. Research the best means of detaching yourself from work when you need to focus on your family. That could mean learning to meditate; engaging in sport or physical activity; or teaching yourself to become distracted with cooking, reading a novel or taking up crafts.
It is possible to achieve a healthy work/life balance, even if you are at the top of your game in the legal profession. All you need to do is to apply the same principles of planning, prioritizing and research to your personal life. You don't gain career success without being proactive, and the same applies to personal success and happiness. It is arguable that career success will be that much more difficult to attain if your personal life is falling down around you. Looking after yourself physically and mentally will equip you with the tools you need to be the best you can be, and who can argue with that?!