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New Year's Resolutions

Q. Like everything else, I'm behind in formulating my New Year's resolutions. Aside from getting my booster shot, what should I resolve to do in the year ahead?

A. After the ball drops on another year, we often spend the next twelve months dropping balls in all aspects of lives. Even if you finished your list of resolutions, in a few weeks, that list would be buried beneath a pile of paperwork, as the overwhelming demands of practice, multiple deadlines and an endless stream of phone calls monopolize your time.

In a profession that struggles with a higher incidence of depression and anxiety than the population at large, we tell ourselves that "the client comes first" and let everything else suffer.

Contrary to the time-honored adage, clients do not come first. You do.

If you truly want to serve your clients well, scrap the resolutions and start making some firm decisions. You cannot attend to their needs at the expense of everything else. Sleep deprivation and a steady diet of caffeine and anti-depressants won't make you a better lawyer. The unhealthy, one-dimensional lifestyle that many of us maintain comes with serious consequences and may ultimately harm the very clients we are sworn to help.

Achieving balance takes time — time which cannot be measured in billable hours.

Using 2020 vision, imagine a year in which your practice is but one aspect of a healthy life that includes a proper diet, exercise, family and recreation. If you are overwhelmed at the office, honestly assess your need for support staff, better technology and case management systems, and a more selective approach to incoming business.

As lawyers, we are accustomed to rolling up our sleeves to put in extra hours – maybe even "all-nighters" – to get the job done. That may be necessary on occasion. But it should never become a way of life.

This applies to all of us irrespective of the nature of our practice or the setting in which we work. But achieving balance is particularly challenging for sole practitioners who are accustomed to doing everything themselves.

If you aren't getting enough sleep, fail to exercise, don't eat right or spend enough time with family, you won't be in a position to help anyone after long. Your clients may appreciate your hard work and dedication. But they'll find plenty of other lawyers to take over once you're gone.

Your family will miss you, though. Perhaps they miss you already.

Don't drop the ball.

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Attorney Grievance defense attorney specializes in defending lawyers in disciplinary proceedings before the Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission and the D.C. Bar's Board on Professional Responsibility involving professional misconduct, legal ethics, disbarment, suspensions of law licenses, petitions for disciplinary action, reprimands and sanctions for unethical conduct. If you receive a letter from Bar Counsel Lydia Lawless, Disciplinary Counsel Hamilton Fox, or from any attorney disciplinary board in Maryland or the District of Columbia, retain experienced attorneys with expertise in lawyer discipline and breach of ethics cases to avoid sanctions for professional misconduct. We help lawyers avoid disbarment, suspension, reprimands, censure and informal admonitions by drafting responses to client grievances and ethical complaints; representing lawyers in peer reviews, evidentiary hearings, and oral arguments before the BPR and the Court of Appeals; filing petitions to reinstate an attorney's license to practice law; conducting law firm ethical compliance audits; and drafting legal ethics opinions to protect lawyers from ethics charges. In many cases, disciplinary proceedings may be dismissed, dismissed with a warning, or result in a conditional diversion agreement with Bar Counsel to rectify misconduct. Lawyers may need help in managing their law firm attorney escrow IOLTA trust account and complying with attorney trust accounting rules to avoid charges of ethical misconduct. Do not represent yourself in responding to an attorney grievance, law firm client complaint, or other allegation of ethical impropriety. Attorney grievance defense counsel may help you comply with legal ethics rules, avoid sanctions like suspension or disbarment, and avoid future attorney grievances.


By The Lawyer's Lawyers | Kramer & Connolly and Irwin R. Kramer who are responsible for the content of this informational website.   This website is designed for lawyers faced with attorney grievances. As cases do differ, past performance does not guarantee future results.