Christy is one of my all time favorite young partners. Why? Christy is the “real deal.” She is an extremely talented, self-starter who knows what she wants to accomplish in both her professional life and her personal life, and she plans her time around her priorities.

Christy is a long-term health care lawyer. She made equity partner in her firm when she was 32. Her husband is also an equity partner in a large law firm. She had two children while she was an associate. Christy is also a happy person who is not stressed out by her work and life.

Christy recently conducted a program for all the associates in her firm titled: Taking Control of Your Non-Billable Time.

Christy sent me the PowerPoint slides and it is clear that she has successfully implemented in her own life many of the ideas I suggest young lawyers consider. I wish every young lawyer would have a chance to listen to Christy’s program.

In her presentation Christy told associates they cannot have it all and they have to make choices based on their priorities. She plans her life around her priorities (does that sound familiar?) Christy has established life time goals in the four categories I suggest:

  • Physical/Financial
  • Mental/Learning
  • Emotional/Relationships
  • Spiritual/Values

Christy’s priorities include her family, church, work, and public service. Recognizing her priorities Christy was able to do one activity that included all of her priorities. How, you ask?

Christy was asked to be a deacon in her church. While the time commitment was not great, she declined because it would take her away from her family. Instead she started the children’s choir at her church. Here is Christy’s description of a public service project her choir did.
“My children’s choir chose as our public service project to go sing at nursing homes (hmm wonder whose idea that was?) Around Halloween, I took the choir to sing and hand out care packages to one of my church-affiliated nursing home clients.” She sent a photo of the choir to the CEO of her client with an email.
From: Christy
To: Shelley; David Smith; Kimberly
Subject: “I Saw the Light”

Mr. Smith, Shelley and Kim, I just wanted to let you know how much my Children’s Choir enjoyed singing for the residents at Wedgwood yesterday and spending time with them handing out treat bags. Kim, thank you for coming in on Sunday afternoon to show us around. I am attaching a few photos. I apologize for the quality. My son is the cowboy on crutches.
This is the email reply she received from the CEO who she had always called Mr. Smith.
From: David A. Smith
To: Christy
Subject: RE:”I Saw the Light”

Christy, the pictures are neat…I recognized your son immediately (looks like his mother). Thank you for bringing the children and spending time at Wedgewood. Our residents always look forward to and enjoy children visiting.
P.S. I think you should call me David.
Thanks, David
Christy did not start the children’s choir for business development. She started it because she wanted a church activity she could do with her children. She wasn’t marketing when she took the children to Wedgewood. But, that public service project connected her in a meaningful way with her client that had nothing to do with legal work.
How well are you planning your personal time and non-billable time? Is it based on your priorities? Let me know if you would like more information about Christy’s presentation.