of the lawyers could
professions if they
“This has opened
my eyes to the many
talents of lawyers,”
Hsu said of his
He and others with
full-time careers offer
the following suggestions for managing
hobbies that lawyers
want to pursue every
■ Be realistic. Russeth
tacks an extra day
onto out-of-town business trips to shoot photos—
unless he must return to the office immediately.
■ Care for yourself. Bridges tries to train and
rehearse six days a week. But if she is nursing an
injury, or if university obligations conflict with her
training schedule, she backs off from ballet. After
all, rest is part of her regimen.
■ ■ Don’t succumb to fear of failure. Russeth began
photography without contemplating where it
might lead, recalling, “I charged ahead and had
fun. Less than a year later, I had my first exhibition.
If I hadn’t started photography on my own, the
invitation to exhibit never would have happened.”
Maintain Professional and Personal
However, Russeth maintains firm boundaries between
photography and his job. Because Leprino Foods man-
ufactures mozzarella cheese for major pizza restaurant
chains, he avoids photographing anything that, or
anyone who has a politically sensitive connection to
the dairy industry, for example. Whenever he inter-
acts with collectors buying one of his prints or
people in the photography and art world, he tends
to limit description of his occupation to merely
“lawyer.” He avoids using the Leprino name to
prevent misconceptions that the family for whom
his company is named has endorsed or is involved
with his photography.
“I put the company first,” Russeth said. “I need
to be sure that my actions as a photographer do
not reflect poorly on my company.”
Bridges, meanwhile, agrees that parameters are
important. Officials of a dance company once alerted
her law school about an upcoming production that in-
cluded Bridges. Law school officials posted the news on
social media, but neither they nor the dance company
had told Bridges, who asked for removal of the post
when she found out.
“I don’t want my employer using my being a ballet
dancer to raise the institution’s public profile,” she said.
“I blend my two lives on my own terms.”
Despite keeping photography distinct from his day
job, Russeth appreciates how his hobby has unexpect-
edly boosted his legal competencies. He recalls how
shortly after becoming Leprino’s legal chief in 2005, a
Fortune® 500 energy company sued his employer.
Russeth lacked expertise in the energy industry. Not
surprisingly, he struggled with evidence in that case,
making it tougher to offer input to outside counsel
hired to represent Leprino. Although Russeth’s company prevailed at trial back then, the photography skills
he has since developed have improved his speed-read-ing abilities when reviewing evidence at work. His
proficiency at noticing patterns within the defendant’s
e-mails in the current case has enabled him to provide
outside counsel more input than he did in the long-ago
He and others remind lawyers that even though
hobbies are pursued for relaxation, there’s always a
chance they can directly impact careers.
As Bridges puts it, “Passion doesn’t necessarily have
an oppositional relationship that antagonizes a person’s
work life. If you insert passion into one area of your life,
this can improve and reinvigorate the quality of other
areas of your life.” ■
A FREELANCE writer and editor, Lydia Lum (lydialum999@yahoo.
com) is a former reporter for the Houston Chronicle and Fort Worth
Richard C. Hsu, a partner and global head
of intellectual property and technology
transactions with Shearman & Sterling LLP,
created “Hsu Untied,” a podcast series where he
interviews lawyers about their hobbies.