Lessons from The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers 2023 Annual Meeting
Striking the right work-life balance is often viewed as an elusive pursuit—particularly for those of us embedded in the compelling yet challenging landscape of family law. Recently, however, I was reminded that the integration of career and family can manifest in the most enriching ways.
During my attendance at The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyer (AAML) 2023 annual meeting in Chicago, Illinois, from November 7 to 11, we dove into a broad spectrum of topics, ranging from the intricate nuances of family law to inspiring presentations on enhancing life happiness.
But what set this conference apart was not just what I learned in the seminars—it's how I chose to experience it. Rather than treating this as merely an opportunity for continuing legal education, my wife Lisa, our children Madeleine, and Hartley, and I transformed it into a harmonious blend of work and vacation.
My days began with presentations on family law matters as the women in my life explored the city. In the afternoon, I joined them as we explored the Shedd Aquarium, and the Magnificent Mile and savored meals at the iconic Gibson's Steakhouse and Nobu. While the ladies savored the crisp autumn weather and strolled the Navy Pier, I was gathering legal insights to aid my clients better. Altogether, it was more than just a trip—it was a holistic experience that fulfilled my professional enrichment and family commitments. For the girls, the highlights were the architectural boat tour on the Chicago River and the TILT Thrill Ride, which tilts you away from the John Hancock building in a glass box over 1,030 feet above the city streets. The views were breathtaking.
As a family lawyer, I do not just assist clients in navigating complex family law cases. We also help them understand that legal matters—no matter how convoluted—are woven into the broader fabric of their life experiences. This trip reinforced that principle. We are often drawn into this artificial dichotomy of personal versus professional life when, in fact, the most rewarding experiences emerge from the seamless melding of the two.
Lessons are often born from our honest attempts to fuse our roles, whether as a husband, father, or attorney. In the end, it is not just about work-life balance. It's work-life integration. It's about the relentless pursuit of growth in all spectrums of life.