Scalia Tells Young Lawyers Move to Cleveland, Work Less, Chill Out

By Andrew Chow, Esq. on February 16, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Cleveland rocks. And young lawyers who want their work-life balance to rock should seriously consider moving there, Justice Antonin Scalia recently advised.

Justice Scalia made that comment about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame city in a speech at the University of Chicago Law School, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Scalia was a UC law professor before being assigned to the federal bench.

The associate justice, of course, is known for his strident conservative views. But his arguably liberal advice to law students: Don't work so hard, and chill out.

"Try to find a practice that enables you to maintain a human existence," Justice Scalia advised. That should include "time for your family, your church or synagogue, community, ... boy scouts, little league," Scalia said, according to the Sun-Times.

Justice Scalia related his own humble beginnings with the firm Jones Day in Cleveland. "You should look for a place like that. I'm sure they're still out there. Maybe you have to go to Cleveland," Scalia said.

If not Cleveland, perhaps the Left Coast offers a lifestyle that budding lawyers would like, Justice Scalia told law students with a laugh. For example, the Justice's son Eugene Scalia joined the firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, based out of Los Angeles.

"Any big firm has the basic ethos of its head office," Justice Scalia explained, "and if the head office is in La La land, it's gonna be a little laid back."

Work-life balance remains a huge issue for overworked lawyers, surveys consistently show. A 2010 survey, for example, found 46% of supervised attorneys would take a pay cut for more time off.

Perhaps if more attorneys worked in Cleveland as Justice Scalia suggests, they'd be more satisfied. First-year associates at Jones Day in Cleveland make about $145,000 a year, The Plain Dealer reported last fall. That's more than the nationwide average for new associates, which was $115,000 in 2011.

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