Canadian Lawyer InHouse

Oct/Nov 2008

Legal news and trends for Canadian in-house counsel and c-suite executives

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FEATURE lawyers can keep it together in a way that others can't, and it's not true. They just hold it in tighter."As a former fam- ily law lawyer and civil litigator, Gold says he leſt the practice of law aſter 10 years because he wanted to be involved in something that would liſt people up, rather than tear them down. On average, he says, OLAP can get from 10 to 30 new clients in a week, with issues ranging from drug, sex, and gam- bling addictions to people coping with poisonous work environments, marital issues, financial crises, anxiety and de- pression. He says the notion of "work-life bal- ance" is oſten a ridiculed term, a quaint thought where counsel don't have to be responsible for billable hours or fi- nal decisions. "Many people think it's about paying your dues, and people in the legal profession are willing to put up with a lot of garbage for the sake of what they think is career advancement," he says. The flipside, of course, is that person- al lives oſten suffer and the whole idea of balance goes right out the window. Where lawyers in private practice have a common thread in meeting targets and dealing with seniors and juniors, says Gold, the stressors at the top of the in- house counsel list are the politics of the corporate world, the constant pressure of considering the bottom line, and work- ing in a poisonous environment. Three weeks into her maternity leave from a Bay Street firm, Aimee Israel saw a position advertised in the Ontario Re- ports for an in-house position that would only require her to work three days a week. For her, the arrangement proved to be a good one, but she still felt many of the parental pressures associated with going back to work. "It was around this time that I started to realize that working parents needed support when they returned back to work," she says. Soon aſter that, Life- Speak Inc. was born. It's a company that offers a series of workshops (at your place of business) through three programs focused around parenting, vitality, and caring for aging parents. The sessions are highly custom- ized for each client and are oſten used by employers to assist in recruiting and retention initiatives insofar as they try to enhance employee satisfaction and com- mitment to the organization. "[A]ll of the sessions we do are on part of what's causing the imbalance at any given time. Whether it's choosing the right schools, working out finances, dealing with parents, or staying active and healthy, those are the stresses that are causing the imbalance a lot of the time." — AIMEE ISRAEL, LIFESPEAK INC. "A lot of our clients ask us to do something on work-life balance," says Israel. "But all of the sessions we do are on part of what's causing the imbalance at any given time. Whether it's choosing the right schools, working out finances, dealing with parents, or staying active and healthy, those are the stresses that are causing the imbalance a lot of the time." The sessions are usually 90 minutes long and can be arranged at any time of the day. Israel says LifeSpeak only uses leading authorities and experts to de- liver its workshops, out of respect for the people who are taking them. "These are highly educated people, and they want to learn from leaders, not from generalists who might give them the top 10 reasons HOW WILL THE BEST LAWYERS FIND YOU? RainMaker Group 110 Yonge Street, Suite 1101 Toronto, Ontario M5C 1T4 Tel: 416-863-9543 Fax: 416-863-9757 www.rainmakergroup.ca 24 OC T OBER 2008 C ANADIAN Lawyer INHOUSE Untitled-1 1 6/23/08 10:13:37 AM

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