On a three-week family vacation to Greece and Croatia, Andrew Giacomini left his phone in his room to disconnect from his litigation practice.
Although Giacomini, the managing partner at Hanson Bridgett in San Francisco, checked emails, his colleagues probably didn’t know—because Giacomini never responded. He billed zero hours during his 21-day trip and focused on recharging.
“I have the philosophy: Balanced lawyers give balanced advice,” Giacomini said. “You’re not going to be offering the best advice to your clients with burned-out lawyers.”
Giacomini’s strategy is part of wider recognition within the legal profession that true downtime for lawyers is crucial. With mental health problems and addiction percentages higher among lawyers compared with other professions, some firms are acknowledging that lawyers truly need to detach from the office to recharge.
Say the word “flextime” and most people think of reduced hours for working mothers. But a small, yet growing number of male lawyers are using lighter job schedules to strike the right work-life balance.
More law firms in recent years have incorporated flextime policies—especially reduced-hour schedules—to help with attorney retention. And women, more than men, have used the policies to balance their jobs with raising kids.
But more widespread adoption by male attorneys of the benefit is expected to lift all boats—helping women lawyers juggle demands and attracting millennial attorneys less interested in working a constant grind.
Although it might go against a lawyer’s natural propensities toward risk aversion, some practitioners have started accepting payments in digital currencies amid the bitcoin boom.
“I’ve known for a long time that my opportunity to expand in certain areas has been affected by not taking it,” said Carol Van Cleef, a Washington, D.C. lawyer who for 10 years has represented cryptocurrency clients with regulatory compliance.
As far back as 2013, a handful of big law firms that represented the earliest cryptocurrency entrepreneurs started accepting bitcoin payments. Today, big and small firms alike, as well as solo practitioners, have followed their lead and have accepted cryptocurrency’s risks in order to meet clients’ needs and get paid.