A partner once told me I was a slave to my law firm, and any number of law firm managers do indeed act as if associates are simply rats on a treadmill, beings that need to be fed and watered every now and then to yield maximum performance. No matter what workaholic message those at the top might constantly try to convey, I have no problem with easing up a bit, especially in the summertime.
Coming in a little late, leaving a bit early, lingering at lunch—what’s the harm of it? Lawyers work hard; their support staff work hard, and I’ve always found that I’m far more willing to launch a no-holds-barred effort if I’ve been slacking just a bit just before.
It’s not that I’m doing nothing in my down times; I’m just not doing everything as quickly and intensely. I’m spending more time to think and less time tirelessly researching, writing, marketing, selling. As everyone who’s worked in one knows, law firms can be very intense places. To me, there’s no harm in lightening the load every now and then so that you can excel later.