June 06, 2011 Articles

Did I Mention the Guilt? Striving for Work-Life Balance

Judges and litigators are responsible for ensuring that cases are handled in a timely matter, and maintaining a balance between professional and personal initiatives is imperative.

By Hon. Marguerite D. Downing

If you knew me personally, you would agree I am the queen of work-life balance. Since I started my legal career over 20 years ago, I have worked as a lawyer—and now a judge—by day, while in the oft hours I have worked on a large range of extracurricular activities.

So that you understand the breadth of my community and professional service, I am a past president of Black Women Lawyers of Los Angeles, Inc. (BWL), the California Association of Black Lawyers (CABL), and California Women Lawyers (CWL). As to the former two bar associations, I continue to serve on their boards as hospitality chair and on various other committees. Service as a member of the State Bar of California Board of Governors and as an advisor to their Criminal Law Section Executive Committee, plus work on a number of American Bar Association and National Bar Association commissions, round out my professional commitments. On a community basis, I concurrently serve on the boards of the following nonprofits: the California Bar Foundation, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles, Mental Health America of Los Angeles (MHA), and Project Return. I serve as an officer of my Links, Inc., chapter. Oh, and did I mention I have a husband and young daughter at home?

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