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Inbox: Sometimes it is enough to be 'good enough'

August 29, 2012
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Kelly:

I think the problem is defining the term “all” in your statement “[c]an women in the law really have it all?”  What is your “all?” If your definition is that you tried your best and balanced your own needs, and the needs of others, as best you could, then that should be enough. There is no need for guilt or remorse.

For someone like me, a solo, female attorney with a family, I am constantly balancing the needs of my children, my husband, my work, and my own personal goals. The amount of time and energy I devote to one area is fluid and changes on a daily basis. There are times when almost 100% of my energy needs to be devoted to preparing for a trial. On the other hand, there are days when almost 100% of my energy is devoted to taking care of sick child. It’s a constant balancing act which leads to feeling, on some days, like I’m juggling a bunch of balls that might fall at any moment. But, they’re my balls to juggle. I chose those balls. Most women attorneys I know, who are juggling the same balls, wouldn’t drop a ball for any amount of money that you could offer them.

I tell other women, “you can’t give 100% to every area of your life, at every moment, but you can be ‘good enough.’” I may not be the best attorney, the best wife, or the best mother, every single day, but I’m “good enough” that I can still keep practicing law and paying attention to the needs of those around me as well as my own needs. As women, we have to let go of the guilt that haunts us when can’t devote 100% of our time to our family, our significant others, our personal needs, or our clients. We don’t need to do so. We just need to reframe our thinking on what having it “all” actually means.   

Sincerely,

Patricia L. McKinnon, Esq.
Indianapolis

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  1. Your article is a good intro the recent amendments to Fed.R.Civ.P. For a much longer - though not necessarily better -- summary, counsel might want to read THE CHIEF UMPIRE IS CHANGING THE STRIKE ZONE, which I co-authored and which was just published in the January issue of THE VERDICT (the monthly publication of the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association).

  2. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  3. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  4. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  5. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

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