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I spend 1.8 in non-billable hours commuting to and from work everyday, so I enjoy the occasional opportunity to work from home. And why shouldn’t I? I have a computer, the Internet, a phone and � some days � no meetings at the office. Avoiding the dreaded commute saves billable time and, by default, enlarges family time, but it also requires discipline. Especially with five children. First, there’s Scottie, my eleven-year-old. He knows my job is important � it makes money that puts food in his stomach; a roof over his head; clothing on his back; and not nearly enough cool gadgets in his backpack. He also understands that when I’m working from home, I am actually working, so he doesn’t interrupt me very much. But he doesn’t understand the ownership of the computer. About the only way my wife and I can motivate him to do his chores and homework is to bribe him with computer time. That, of course, interferes with my computer time, which creates a problem because our second computer crashed a few years ago and I haven’t mustered the will-power to replace it yet. Usually I’ll try to find something else to do when Scottie’s spending his precious minutes on the computer, but once in a while I have to kick him off. He leaves in tears as I spend the next five minutes angrily closing the hundreds of games he’s opened. Usually he logs off my worksite, so I always have to invest additional time re-logging on. All told, he costs me about a .2 of extra time, but who can put a price on those precious father-son moments? Then there’s Josh. He just turned eight. He’s obsessed with sports. Every morning he runs to the driveway and brings in the paper. He spends a few moments tearing it open and then comes to me with the sports pages out of order and starts peppering me with questions about all of the games from the night before that I didn’t let him stay up and watch. I admit that I am a bit of a sports fanatic, so it’s easy for Josh to distract me. After school, he wants to play catch or watch some football re-runs. I’m a sucker for that, too. Then, if I’m away from the computer for a few minutes � and Scottie is otherwise occupied (hopefully with homework) � he downloads the latest highlights from YouTube and studies all of the coolest moves in sports. That’s probably why I found him in the backyard a few weeks ago doing front flips on the grass. I asked him if he was crazy. “No,” he answered, “I’m Reggie Bush flying over the UCLA defense.” I smiled and nodded my head with approval. Josh is about a .3. Anna and Zach are our “artificial” twins. Anna is 6 and we adopted her from Russia little over a year ago. She thinks I work from home all of the time, so she gets confused when I come home from my real office and tell her I’ve been at work all day. She likes to ask lots of questions, usually the same ones over and over. It’s a fun game that usually lasts a .2 or so until I tell her I’m busy. She doesn’t like to be alone, so when she’s not shadowing my wife, she comes right up next me and stares at me for a really long time. Then she asks: “What are you doing?” “Working.” “What’s working?” “That’s how I make money.” “I like to cut up money. Can I help?” (She likes to help a lot.) “No, Anna, this is daddy’s work.” “Daddy?” “Hmm.” “Guess what I did at school today.” “What?” “Guess.” “I can’t.” “Yes you can.” She smiles and laughs and then suggests that I tickle her. Another .1. Zach is five � seven months younger than Anna � and although he came into our family through the “Bradley” method, we’re pretty sure he was postmarked for a different planet. His aliases are Superman, Super Zach, Zach Attack, Bubba, Batman, Spencer Larson (his uncle that plays football) and Burp King. He’s probably the most respectful of my private space; that’s because he’s very independent. When my kids arrive home from school, the three oldest ask my wife if they can have an after-school snack. Not Zach. He usually plows into our pantry without asking, and makes himself a snack that consists of lots of sugar; apparently he doesn’t get enough in Kindergarten. Then he leaves the house without telling anyone where he’s going � he’s usually racing around the neighborhood on his bike in the street without a helmet. When we do see him again, his clothing is very wet or torn. That’s when he disrobes and gives himself a bath. If he feels like it, he’ll join us for dinner; he might eat it or, then again, he might not. If we are lucky, he’ll go to bed when we ask him, but only because he’s decided he’s tired and needs to charge his batteries for the next day. My time at home rarely increases my time with Zach beyond a .0. Sam’s our two-year-old. He doesn’t understand a lot of things, but he loves it when daddy works from home. He’s the only one allowed on my lap when I am typing � that is, until he decides he wants to type, too. Sometimes I tickle him with one hand and type with the other � it’s a skill that very few parents possess. (But I have to be judicious, because if I tickle Sam, Anna instantly appears out of nowhere and wants some more tickles, too). Then, when he’s watching a movie, he invites me to sit on the couch with him. “Dad, sit down!” he commands. Sometimes I do, but only if I like the movie. He likes to play cars and doesn’t tolerate it when I push the cars with my feet while I’m typing at the computer. If I ignore him too much, he throws the cars at me or, if he’s feeling particularly vengeful, he climbs under my desk and shuts off the power to the computer. Then I get mad at him. He stands next to me with his head bowed in shame. A few moments later he hits me and then runs away. A few moments after that, we’re best buds again. Altogether, working from home � and changing Sam’s diaper � gives me an extra .3 with him. Then there’s my wife. When people ask her where she works, and she says “at home with my five kids,” they usually don’t know how to respond. She has an insane amount of patience and our kids love her to death. Who else in this world would let me sneak into the office at home for some extra billables while she tells Scottie for the fifth time to do his homework; gets after Josh for breaking another light bulb in the house with his football; begs Anna to please stop asking questions for at least one minute; calls every neighbor on our street to ask if they have seen Super Zach; and doesn’t always get angry when Sam bounces a car off of her head. At the end of a non-commute day, everyone is a winner: I spend an extra 1.1 with my kids; the firm gets an extra .7 in billings; and there’s one less car for you to honk at on your commute. You can thank me later. Scott Brown is a partner with Lewis and Roca LLP in Phoenix, Arizona. In his nearly eight years an attorney, he has spent over 2,600 hours commuting � or 112 days sitting in a car � or $13,000 at the gas station � or, well, you get the point.

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