Do associates and partners burn out not because of the serial all-nighters but because they resent some aspect of the work? Maybe they couldn't duck out to see their daughter simulate a lion in the school play or run for state representative.
Yahoo president and chief executive officer Marissa Mayer, who is married to lawyer Zackary Bogue, is quoted in NEW YORK MAGAZINE by Lisa Miller as observing:
"I think burnout happens because of resentment." That's why those she manages know that if they want to prepare to run a marathon or coach their son's baseball team, they can do that. They know that she knows that they will put in the hours to get the job done and probably more, if they aren't resenting what they haven't been allowed to do.
Law firms might consider making it an explicit policy to allow those at all levels in all functions to be able to duck out for what's emotionally or spiritually important to them. Not only could burnout lessen. There might be fewer situations in which lawyers dip into clients' escrow accounts. Resentment is a terrible thing. In 12 step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous it is one of the main reasons people became drunks or after a period of sobriety fall off the wagon.