Resources Newsletter Archive Special Issue, April 2000

Special Issue, April 2000

  • Special Bonus Edition -- Balancing Work & Family

Newsletter: Beyond the Billable Hour
Making The Hours of Your Life Worth More ™

Special Bonus Edition
Balancing Work & Family

Ellen Ostrow, Ph.D., Editor
Ellen is the founder of™ Providing Personal and Career Coaching for Women Lawyers


Our Perspective

Women lawyers live impossibly busy lives.  Finding a balance between work and life, deciding on the best practice area or work setting, and making career transitions can be a daunting task, even for the most gifted and accomplished attorney.  This newsletter is intended to help you create a satisfying life within, or outside of, legal practice.


In this BONUS Issue:

1. "Balancing Work & Family" by Ellen Ostrow, Ph.D. Just published in the Florida Association of Women Lawyers Newsletter.

2. The LawyersLifeCoach™ Satisafaction with Life/Work Inventory - new at

3. News Brief: "The Truth about Money and Happiness"

4. Books in Brief: "Stress Management for Lawyers"

5. "Awakened Lawyering" - an in-person workshop for lawyers in the D.C. metropolitan area

6. "LawyersLifeCoach™ Insights" - Share Your Wisdom With Other Women Lawyers


1. "Balancing Work & Family - Revisited"


The following is an excerpt from an article written by Ellen for the Spring, 2000 issue of the Florida Association of Women Lawyers Newsletter:

"I recently consulted with an attorney in the second trimester of her pregnancy.  She was facing a dilemma no expectant mother should ever have to face - and one very familiar to most women attorneys who have had, or considered having, children.

With maternity leave looming, this associate needed to ready her projects to hand over to a colleague.  But as she tried to clear her desk, her partner kept adding to her caseload.  Her obstetrician had advised her to minimize stress and she wanted to - this pregnancy was particularly important to her since her biological clock was ticking down.

As you can well understand, the prospect of telling the partner she needed to limit her hours as her pregnancy progressed caused her greater stress than actually putting in those hours.  Even though she knew that she needed to rest more - for both her baby and herself - she could not bring herself to tell this to the partner.  She was too afraid of the repercussions on her career..."

To read more, go to:

2.   "The LawyersLifeCoach TM Satisfaction with Life/Work Inventory"


I have enough time to spend with my family.  T  F

My work is recognized and valued.            T  F

I am optimistic about finding someone with whom to share my life.              T  F

My work environment is free of politics and backbiting.                              T  F

I am familiar with the full range of employment opportunities for lawyers.      T  F

I am angry or irritable fewer than twice a month.                                     T  F

So far I have gotten the important things I want in life.                            T  F

These are just a few of the items you'll find on the LawyersLifeCoach™ Satisfaction with Work/Life Inventory at:

The answers to these questions may allow you to assess:

*** your degree of current satisfaction with your career

*** the extent to which you currently feel you've achieved work/life balance

*** specific areas of satisfaction and dissatisfaction

Why not see how you score on the LawyersLifeCoach™ Satisfaction with Work/Life Inventor at

3. News Brief:  "The Truth about Money and Happiness"


Many lawyers in the D.C. area just received significant salary increases (along with increases in their expected billable hours.) Shouldn't big salary increases be a cause for joy and celebration?

The financial success you've achieved reflects many years of hard work, both in law school and in practice, and this deserves to be a source of great pride.  But it may not be a source of joy in the long run.

Recent psychological research (1) indicates that although most people expect more money to improve their life satisfaction, the fact is that money buys little happiness.

In affluent countries where most people can afford life's necessities, the relationship between affluence and happiness is surprisingly weak.  Although poor people tend to be unhappy, once comfortable, money provides diminishing returns on happiness.

The euphoria of winning the lottery wears off quickly.  Research indicates that people whose incomes have increased over the previous decade are not happier than those whose incomes have not.

Because of our human capacity for adaptation, good and bad events influence our moods temporarily. In less time than you'd imagine, the emotional impact of a salary increase dissipates. "Thanks to our capacity to adapt to ever greater fame and fortune, yesterday's luxuries can soon become today's necessities and tomorrow's relics." (2)

In fact, "the more people strive for extrinsic goals such as money, the more numerous their problems and the less robust their well-being." (3)

I hope you will keep reading "Beyond the Billable Hour" TM for information about how you can increase life satisfaction and well-being.  Research and my own coaching experience suggest several specific strategies are effective.  We'll explore each in turn in future issues.


1. "American Psychologist," (2000), 55 (1).

2. Myers, D.G. (2000). The funds, friends, and faith of happy people. "American Psychologist," 55, p.60.

3. Kasser,T. & Ryan, R. (1996). Further examining the American dream: Differential correlates of intrinsic and extrinsic goals. "Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin," 22, 280-287, cited in Myers, D.G. (2000). "American Psychologist," 55, p.61.

4. Books in Brief: "Stress Management for Lawyers"


"Stress Management for Lawyers: How to Increase Personal and Professional Satisfaction in the Law" by Amiram Elwork, Ph.D. The Vorkell Group, 1997.

Elwork provides a practical guide for reducing the stress of legal practice.  He reviews reasons law is so stressful and provides a range of strategies for reducing stress, including relaxation techniques, time-management, emotional awareness and changing dysfunctional thinking.

I like many of his strategies and will share the best with you in future issues.  In the interim, I highly recommend you take a look at this valuable book.

5. "Awakened Lawyering" Saturday, April 29, 2000 9:30-3:30 pm Eastern time Silver Spring, MD $45 (lunch included).


Lawyers in the D.C. metropolitan area have an opportunity to learn how mindfulness can enhance their ability and experience as lawyers.  Mindfulness is simply learning to pay more attention to what is happening in the present, without being caught up in anxiety about the past or future.  It trains us to be able to see all the possibilities in a situation.

This program includes group discussions, lectures, mindfulness exercises and meditation practice and will be taught by lawyers who are long-time students of this meditation technique.

For further information, contact Pat Ullman at (301) 535-0216 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Did you know that a personal and professional coach can teach you mindfulness and other stress management and work focus practices?

If you're not in the D.C. area or would like to follow up a mindfulness workshop with ongoing virtual coaching support, contact Ellen at (301) 578-8686 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

6. LawyersLifeCoach™ Insights - Share Your Wisdom With Other Women Lawyers!


Have you discovered tips that help you keep your work and life in balance?  Do you have insights into the pressures women lawyers experience and how to deal with them?  Have you made a transition to another area of the law or to an entirely new career?

Please share what you've learned with me. is dedicated to helping women lawyers thrive and will share every valuable idea you give us.  And I'll keep your name and firm totally confidential unless you tell me otherwise.  Please send your insights to me at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and in the subject line in all caps put "LAWYERSLIFECOACH INSIGHTS."


BEYOND THE BILLABLE HOUR™ is published monthly by Ellen Ostrow, Ph.D., founder of  She brings 20 years of experience assisting women attorneys to her work in Lawyers Life Coach™. is a professional and personal coaching firm specializing in working virtually (by phone with email and fax backup) with women attorneys interested in developing strategies to find greater satisfaction in their careers within the law or in exploring career alternatives for lawyers.

Ellen Ostrow, Ph.D. established to coach busy lawyers who might benefit from the insights gained from 20 years as a psychologist combined with her experience and familiarity with the legal profession.

Ellen holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Rochester and is a managing member of Metropolitan Behavioral Health Care, LLC., a multispecialty, multidisciplinary psychotherapy practice in Washington, D.C. and suburban Maryland.

She is a member of the International Coach Federation and a graduate of the Mentor Coach Program™.


NOTE:  BEYOND THE BILLABLE HOUR™ is intended for informational and educational purposes only.  It is not a substitute for a personal consultation with a mental health professional and should not be construed as a form of, or substitute for, counseling, psychotherapy, or other psychological service.



For a FREE subscription to BEYOND THE BILLABLE HOUR™ sign up at: or send an email to: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with the word subscribe in the body of the letter.



Ellen Ostrow, Ph.D.
Phone: (301) 578-8686
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


© 2000 Ellen Ostrow.  All rights reserved.

Distribution Rights: The above material is copyrighted but you may retransmit or distribute it to whomever you wish as long as not a single word is changed, added or deleted, including the contact information.  However, you may not copy it to a web site.

Reprint permission will be freely granted upon request.  Advance written permission must be obtained for any reprinting of this material in modified or altered form.


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Ellen Ostrow, Ph.D., CMC

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Phone: 844-818-9471

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