Of the many concerns facing the new associate, or even the experienced partner, one of the most complex and mystifying is that of work-life balance. It is an issue about which many firms appear to be concerned. They present workshops and make printed material available; mentors nod their heads in that direction; and human resources departments employ professional development specialists to work on the issue. Ultimately, however, it appears that the legal world leaves each attorney to his own devices to crack the code of work-life balance.

Law practice, particularly in a big firm, will take all that a person can give and still hunger for more. New big-firm associates, until recently bringing in as much as $160,000 for the first year of practice, get the strongly implied message that their employers now have a priority claim on their bodies and souls.

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