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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Win or sleep?

Yesterday, one of the nation's top trial lawyers visited with our business staff at The Miami Herald. He gave us a glimpse into his work/life balance and his expectations for others at his firm.

What amused us is the mantra Boies poses his legal team during a trial: Do you want to win or do you want to sleep?

Boies, knows young associates want more flexibility and work/life balance. But he says his law firm, Boies, Schiller & Flexner, just can't give it to them. During trial there are times his legal team is expected to work intensely for 70 hours a week or more until the trial is over. For Boies there's only one answer to the win or sleep question? "Losing really sucks,'' Boies said.
Boies, known best for his representation of Al Gore during the Florida election recount, goes to bed at 10 p.m. and wakes up at 6 a.m. to ensure he's well rested and quick on his feet in front of a jury. Although Boies works through weekends and concentrates intensely on his case until his trial ends, he says, afterward he'll usually turn off his phone and take some time off to travel -- if he doesn't have another trial. Next year, he has four big trials on his agenda.

Boies says he doesn't knock the lawyers that want 9 to 5 jobs. "But you can't try big , important, life-changing cases unless there are periods when you can work intensely."

I bet there are others in a variety of professions who live by Boies' win or sleep mantra. Do you?


Anonymous JenM said...

I'm really fascinated by this bold statement. I get it--the win or sleep idea--and it seems prevelant in investment banking and law. I don't buy into it... yet I also don't have the potential to rake in millions of dollars like people in those professions do. Here's my question: Will that idea--that 40 hour (or even 50 hour) workweeks are impossible for some professions--ever change?

10:00 AM  

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