Name: Laura A. Rosenbury
Job Title: Dean and Levin, Mabie & Levin Professor of Law, UF Levin College of Law
City: Gainesville, FL
Number of Children/Other Dependents: none at the moment
Do you think having “it all” is realistic or overrated? Why?
I think “having it all” is the wrong framework. No one, regardless of gender, has ever had it all; that is impossible. Life is all about choices. Making some choices will necessarily preclude other choices. The key is being aware of the choices you are making and not beating yourself up when you are not perfect at everything. No one can be perfect, and it is unfair to expect that of ourselves.
What does having “it all” mean to you?
It is meaningless; I refuse to accept the “having it all” framework.
What is the best advice you have ever received on balancing your personal and professional lives?
Be generous with yourself and others. No one is perfect. Accepting that vulnerability is what makes life truly beautiful.
If you had an extra hour in your day, how would you spend it?
With my partner and other close family and friends.
Looking back at when you started in the profession, and knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your younger self?
You can not change what other people do or think; you can only change your response to what other people do or think.
Do you deal with guilt in trying to balance your personal and professional lives?
There are many days when I wish I could escape with my partner instead of going to work. I’ve learned to vocalize that desire. I can then better remember the professional and personal choices I have made, and take action to carve out real down time with family and friends.
What single change do you believe would have the biggest impact on work life balance or quality of life?
The end of face time and the rise of truly flexible work schedules.
What part of “balance” do you struggle with?
Despite my advice, I often find myself trying to be all things to all people (in other words, to be perfect).
What part of “balance” are you improving at?
I am getting better at admitting the limitations on my time in light of my personal and professional choices, delegating, and asking for help (or being fine with letting things go).
How important is civic and/or professional involvement to you and why?
Extremely. A law degree is an incredible privilege. Every day I strive to recognize that privilege and to pay forward the assistance, mentorship, and sponsorship that helped me get where I am today.
What’s the advice you would give a young lawyer seeking to strike a “balance” between family, self, and the practice of law or achieve better quality of life?
Find a sponsor: someone who is willing to put their reputations on the line in order to help you advance in your career. A career will always pull you away from family and friends, so make it truly worth it.
Any other parting words of advice?
Life is worth living only when it is out of balance, when you can reach the heights of passion at work, at home, and all the places in between. Don’t settle for balance.