Balancing the practice of law and life

first_img September 15, 2002 Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Regular News Balancing the practice of law and life Senior EditorA lawyer took his family skiing in the mountains. But rather than relishing the perfect scenery and refreshing exercise, he found himself scheming for ways to buy local real estate or a condominium.He wasn’t, author and lawyer Mike Papantonio said, enjoying the experience but instead was trying to figure out how to exert control — and in the process ruining his enjoyment.The lesson? “The best we can do for our family and the best we can do for our community is enjoy the moment we have now,” Papantonio said.Papantonio, sometimes showing a revival preacher’s fervor, brought that message to the Board of Governors at its August meeting. The lawyer and author of Resurrecting Aesop’s Fables and Searching for Atticus Finch was the luncheon speaker at the board’s Sarasota gathering and said his goal is to help lawyers bring balance to their lives.Papantonio has spent years surveying lawyers about what they like and don’t like about their lives and profession. Much of what he has found is that lawyers pour too much effort into their practice to the exclusion of other parts of their lives. And that eventually affects their personal, civic, and even professional activities.His talk was peppered with findings of surveys he’s taken of lawyers over several years. Among the findings:• 76 percent of respondents “said they dramatically needed to improve their quality of life.”• 97 percent “said addictive, destructive ambition is threatening to destroy the profession.”• “84 percent said “that lack of balance [in their lives] was causing problems, but no one was doing anything about it.”• “82 percent find it difficult to say they have enough.”• “80 percent characterize themselves as raising expectations after every accomplishment, no matter how unrealistic” those expectations are.• Only 16 percent said they ever took a course other than CLE.The result is lawyers spend so much time being lawyers, that their lives lose balance, their personal and family lives suffer, and they even wind up losing the perspective that makes them good lawyers, Papantonio said.As an example, he cited Clarence Darrow. Perhaps the most famous lawyer of the 20th century, Darrow quit the only regular legal job he had because he found it incompatible with his lifestyle. And despite handling slews of high profile cases, he always made time to travel extensively, and he wrote more than 50 books.Those diversions, especially traveling, didn’t hurt Darrow’s courtroom performance, but lent perspective and understanding, Papantonio said.“Sometimes we have to reject what has been handed down to us on how we’re supposed to lawyer and how we’re supposed to live,” he told the board. “How dare you tell young lawyers that it’s good for them to bill 3,000 hours a year. How dare you tell a young lawyer his future depends on the number of cases he brings in.”Lawyers frequently get caught up in the trap of seeking more personal wealth and possessions and more power, only to find they can never get enough of either, he said.“People don’t have a picture of how much is enough and whether their expectations will be satisfied and leave them alone,” Papantonio said. “One author called it the hamster syndrome — they’re running on a wheel, not quite sure when they are going to get off.“The basic problem is it’s driven by ego, it’s driven by unhealthy ego,” he added. “It’s driven by not having enough just for today, but enough for 20 years. And do they have more than the other guy.. . . It’s always a matter of trying to move into the next income bracket. It’s illusory. You can do it all your life and you won’t get there.. . . We’re addicted to having more than the other guy, and we’ve never thought about it in 30 years of professional life.”And the reason it’s particularly a problem, Papantonio said, is because De Tocqueville was right: Democracy works only because lawyers work. And that means problems in the profession mean problems for democracy.He urged board members to find balance in their lives and those of members of their firms.“Don’t wait until your next project comes in. Don’t wait until you’re elected to the next big office. Your family doesn’t care, and your community doesn’t care,” he said. Balancing the practice of law and lifelast_img read more

Kennels specialize in lap of luxury

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant The nation’s pet-boarding industry has figured out it doesn’t take much persuasion to get pet owners, often guilty about dropping their dog or cat off at a kennel while they head off on vacation, to pay extra for pampering: In the past five years, spending on pet services including boarding and grooming has more than doubled, to $2.5 billion, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association in Greenwich, Conn. “It’s the art of the upsell,” said Charlotte Reed, a pet-trend watcher who is vice president of The National Association of Professional Pet Sitters in Mt. Laurel, N.J. From boarding kennels to high-end pet hotels, the perks are growing ever more plentiful. Pet services range from birthday parties and spa treatments (such as massages and aromatherapy) to white-glove packages such as recording your dog’s first CD for $1,600. The extra services, Reed said, can pad a typical pet owner’s bill by 30 percent to 35 percent. Pet owners expect kennels to do more than board – they want their dogs and cats treated like children, said Jim Krack, executive director of ABKA, formerly the American Boarding Kennels Association, in Colorado Springs, Colo. WILLOW GROVE – Max and Leo race around one of the kennel’s two-room doggie suites, still filled with boundless energy even after a day of treats and activities. “You want me to read a story?” says Sonya DeFazio, a kennel employee sitting cross-legged on the floor with a “Clifford The Big Red Dog” book on her lap. The bedtime tale at Best Friends Pet Care caps a busy day for Max, a 7-year-old West Highland white terrier, and Leo, a 2-year-old Pomeranian. During their two-day stay, they’ve already had fitness sessions, walks, playtime, ice cream breaks, “suite treats” and bottled water. The final tab: $57 a day for services and $78 daily for boarding in the 56-square-foot “Boathouse Row” suite, which has a low-lying bed and is decorated with oars, sailboat wallpaper and a framed poster of the Philadelphia landmark for which the room is named. Pets typically stay four to five days. At Best Friends, a privately held Norwalk, Conn.-based company with 42 locations nationwide, customer demand has driven the growth in pet services, spokeswoman Deb Bennetts said. Pet services is one of the fastest-growing areas of business at PetSmart Inc., the Phoenix-based pet supply and services retail chain that changed its name last year from PetsMart. In the third quarter of 2005, revenues from pet services jumped 24 percent, to $71.5 million, from the same period a year earlier. PetSmart expects those sales to grow by an additional 20 percent this year and again in 2007. Since 2001, the chain has opened 35 PetsHotel locations, where one popular feature allows owners to telephone their dogs, which bark back in response, said spokeswoman Jennifer Pflugfelder. Michael San Filippo, a spokesman for the American Veterinary Medical Association in Schaumburg, Ill., said baby boomers and empty-nesters are helping drive the trend. “The kids are married or away and this sort of fills a parental need,” he said. When pet owners order services that their pets don’t really need, such as nail polish, “it’s more for the well-being of the owner,” San Filippo said. “There’s probably guilt there,” he said. “You might be away on business or vacation and you might be overcompensating with some pampering.” For some pet owners, nothing is too good for their beloved animals. At the newly opened Mazzu’s Canine & Feline Hotel in Philadelphia, pet guests are greeted with the soothing colors of a spa, a rock wall for a back-to-nature ambience and scents of lavender. There’s room service as well: Sassy, a nearly 3-year-old chocolate Labrador, was hand-delivered a 12-ounce filet mignon dinner at her $125-a-night carpeted suite. The steak was grilled lightly, sliced and served on a gold platter – and set her owners back $22. “I think it’s definitely worth it,” said Sassy’s owner, Christie Graziosi, a Morristown, N.J., resident whose husband’s three kids are grown. “Every time my dog has come home from those (boarding kennels) she’s usually hoarse because she’s been barking. You can tell she wasn’t happy there.” L.A. Dogworks in Los Angeles, which says its customers include Jake Gyllenhaal’s Atticus and Nicole Richie’s Honeychild and Foxy Cleopatra, offers a “Zen Den” – touted as an “eastern retreat” to promote the “total wellness experience” through massages, aromatherapy and other services. Even hotels for humans are getting in on the action. In December, New York-based Loews Hotels started “The Hound of Music.” The $1,600 package lets dogs ride a limousine to a recording studio, where a voice coach will help them cut their first CD. They can bark or howl along with a guitarist, harmonica player or karaoke beat. Lodging is included. So what’s next for pets? Geriatric services, said Darlene Frudakis, president of PetAg of Hampshire, Ill., a maker of nutritional products for pets that launched its first products for senior pet care last year. Frudakis said 75 percent of household pets are past middle age, or around 5 and older. When pets get old and sick, she said, instead of putting them to sleep, they can be checked into pet-nursing homes such as Bide-A-Wee’s Golden Years Retirement Home in Westhampton, N.Y. At Golden Years, cats with similar temperaments are grouped together and play in their own room. Dogs have their own cubicles with bedding. Staffers play with the pets and provide daily care, such as medication, cleaning and socialization. Darlene Larson, manager of individual giving at New York-based Bide-A-Wee, said the pets can be adopted as well but that it’s rare due to their age. The retirement home fee is $15,000 for your pet’s lifetime. “They’ll take care of your pet for life,” Frudakis said. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more