There is a basic disconnect between young lawyers and senior lawyers on the concept of “work-life balance.” When young lawyers say they want “work-life balance” senior lawyers consider that to be code for working less. In Dallas, first year associate salaries were recently increased to $140,000. Young lawyers who want to work in the big firms paying that starting salary must accept the fact they will be expected to spend a minimum of 2500 hours a year on their career of which about 2000 hours will need to be billable work. 
I have written and told lawyers for years that there is no such thing as work-life balance and even if there was it would be incredibly boring. Think about how excited you would be to say: “I am striving for work-life balance.” I have never sought balance instead I have sought to live my life based on my priorities. 
If you want to strive to spend quality time on your priorities, I suggest you read “First Things First” by Stephen Covey, Roger Merrill and Rebecca Merrill. It is filled with many suggestions I know will help you, including planning your life around your roles. I particularly enjoy Dr. Covey’s story about the “big rocks.” 
Dr. Covey describes that when he was teaching he pulled out a wide-mouth gallon jar and placed it next to a pile of fist-sized rocks. After filling the jar to the top with rocks, he asked, “Is the jar full?” The students replied, “Yes.” He then got some gravel from under the table and added it to the jar. He jiggled the jar until the gravel filled the spaces between the rocks. Again, he asked, “Is the jar full?” This time, the students replied, “Probably not.” Dr. Covey then added sand and asked, “Is the jar full?” By then the students had figured it out and replied “No!” 
Finally, Dr. Covey filled the jar to the brim with water and asked his students the point of what he had done. One student replied: “you can always fit more things into your life if you really work at it.”No,” countered Dr. Covey. “The point is, you have to put the big rocks in first.” 
Billable work for clients is clearly a big rock. But, there are many other big rocks that must be put in the jar. I have always focused on what I want to do as a father, husband and son. I also focus on what I want to learn to become a better lawyer and how I can spend my non-billable time to build relationships with clients. Those are big rocks and each week I plan the most important things I can do in each role. 
This week, my daughter Jill, and her husband made an offer to buy a house. It was really important for me to listen and spend time with them talking about their potential purchase. Nancy and I celebrated our 36th anniversary this week while she was playing in a golf tournament in North Carolina and I was working in Denver. It was really important for me to figure out how to get a gift-I chose wine over flowers- to where she was staying. She gets home on Friday night and it will be important for us to have an anniversary dinner this weekend. The ABA Young Lawyers leaders are meeting in Dallas this weekend. I know several of them. There is a small window of time they are free. It will be important for me to drive downtown and meet with them. I will bring Nancy and we will go to dinner Saturday night from there. I have each of those activities in my calendar. I planned them because they are among my priorities based on my roles.