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Billable Hours Aren't Everything: One Group of Lawyers Takes Back Their Weekends

For some of us, Sundays can be filled with anxiety as we scramble to accomplish various tasks and and do various errands to make the coming week go more easily.  For some lawyers working at big firms, Sundays also trigger a sense of dread about the coming week, what some attorneys call "Sunday stomach."  Tired of the pain of "Sunday stomach," Kevin Broyles and James Fisher jumped off the merry-go-round of large firm life, with its 60-hour workweeks and endless pressure to bill hours, and built FSB Corporate Counsel, a firm filled with "lawyers who say there's more to life than billing clients."

The change in attitude has given attorneys at the firm more time to spend with their families.  Broyles takes his son to school at 8:30 in the morning, and coaches Pee Wee football at 6:30 in the evening.  Broyles says, "It's a matter of getting your priorities in order," and notes that he rarely has to work past 5 or 6 o'clock.  Similarly, Fisher finishes his workday early enough to pick up his daughter from preschool at 4:30 p.m.  Kimberly Verska, another FSB lawyer, appreciates the flexibility.  She now bills 15 hours a week.  She also gets to keep more of what she bills than she would at a large firm.  And Verska, a mother of two, gets to see her daughters every afternoon.

The success of FSB Corporate Counsel may indicate a new trend in how we practice law.  As more lawyers become increasingly disenchanted with the traditional law firm model, quality of life will receive greater weight when making career choices.  A greater emphasis on career satisfaction and quality of life, at the firm level, will likely result in happier lawyers.

By Steve Imparl, guest blogger

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