Rule of the Road No. 9: A trial lawyer must take care of his or her physical and mental health.
More than half (and maybe closer to three-quarters) of lawyer discipline cases have as their genesis a lawyer with personal problems, such as marital, financial, health, alcohol or drug abuse, or mental health problems. When you don’t maintain good physical and mental health, your dramatically increase your risk of ignoring boundaries, of taking money from your client, of missing deadlines, of ignoring your clients’ cases, of treating your clients with disrespect, of going through a messy divorce (and more).
While it may seem selfish in the moment to spend time on yourself, remind yourself that it is more selfish to disrespect others, to ignore those who entrusted you with their legal problem, to break the law so you won’t be around to be the parent or spouse to someone else. You must prioritize personal time and ensure that you don’t ignore your health and personal relationships. If you ignore your personal needs, eventually that neglect will catch up with you and not only negatively affect your health, personal relationships and personal finances, but your professional relationships and your clients.