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The hectic pace and long hours required to practice law in New York can make it difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle. As a partner in the litigation practice at Dewey Ballantine in New York, my schedule is rigorous — like that of most of the other lawyers. To help counteract the stress, I have made exercise an essential part of my day. The benefits that exercise provides, both to my health and my state of mind, are invaluable. As lawyers, we live on the edge of a cliff. Our litigations are multibillion-dollar actions against formidable adversaries, so we are often one step away from either victory or failure. For me, exercise is an irreplaceable stress reliever. It is worth it to me to set aside an hour of exercise — even if it means running home from work at the end of an all-nighter — if I can avoid an hour of lying awake in my bed or pacing in my living room reciting an unfinished case. EXERCISE EVERY OPPORTUNITY YOU HAVE Staying in shape is as important to me as any work I do for my clients; to give them the best, I must be at my best. Therefore I try to exercise every opportunity I have. Since there aren’t many places to ski or hike in New York City, when I visit clients in Colorado, I make sure to take advantage of the snow and hiking trails. When I’m in the office, I work out after lunch, having learned that the gym is least crowded in the late afternoon. Also, to save time, I use the firm’s shower, and it’s not too unlikely to see me roaming the halls of Dewey in my gym shorts. STAY AWAY FROM EMPTY CALORIES The legal lifestyle encourages bad health habits in the form of tempting, unhealthy treats — like the snacks provided at every group meeting. My daily eating routine starts with a big breakfast at the office. I also keep healthy snacks around such as bananas, raisins and plain cereal. With all of the unhealthy food options I am presented with on a daily basis, it’s easy to fall into a pattern of reflexively eating cookie after cookie, without really enjoying them or thinking about what I am eating. Avoiding the snacks and the temptation to eat a heavy lunch makes a big difference. PARTICIPATE IN SPORTS Most firms field sports teams that allow you to exercise and interact with people you don’t necessarily have the opportunity to work with on a day-to-day basis. I play on the Dewey Ballantine ice hockey team. We are primarily a team of novices, myself included, but playing on this team provides another outlet for me to relieve stress and to meet new people while staying fit. Although I participate for fun, I wake up the next day more sore than if I had worked out for hours the night before. Also, outside the firm, I try to participate in marathons. Three years ago, I finished my fourth consecutive New York marathon. My three- to four-hour time range for completing the event is not likely to get me invited to the Olympics, but as with participating in our hockey league, I enjoyed the challenge. By regularly participating in a meaningful event, the focus on exercise shifts from painful and tiring to pleasurable and uplifting. One of my main motivations for staying fit is that it is much easier to stay in shape once I am in shape. Maintaining my health is effortless as long as I keep up a regular schedule. Although everyone has a different schedule and a different level of meaning attached to exercise, I find that it benefits all aspects of my life. Once I started to maintain my fitness, it became as routine as brushing my teeth and has improved the overall quality of my life. Robert Milne is a litigation partner at Dewey Ballantine. His principal practice areas are complex commercial litigation and litigation and counseling in the areas of antitrust (civil and criminal) trade regulation insurance, environmental and products liability.

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