Finding Balance As A Lawyer, Part 1: Food & Happiness

JUN 06, 2022 | PRACTUS LLP

Finding Balance As A Lawyer, Part 1: Food & Happiness

Authored by Ryan P. Smith

An Ode to Curly and Work-Life Balance, Part 1: Food

In a previous post, I noted that the one thing that I need to maintain – Curly’s finger, if you will – is balance.  I need to have balance between managing my practice, being a good husband, father, friend, etc. and taking care of my spirit, mind and body.  A huge component of this is food.

To be clear, I am not referring to eating food for the sake of filling my belly.  (I confess, though, that many of my favorite memories center around a terrific meal.)  Rather, I mean preparing food for the sake of filling my spirit.  If you go to my biography page, you will read that my alternate career path would be a pit master.  A main reason is that turning humble cuts of meat into something special – especially for people I care about – is incredibly fulfilling.  Not necessarily for the results (although I will not so humbly put my pulled pork and ribs against anyone’s), but for the process.  As a securities lawyer, I live in a world of statutes, rules and interpretative guidance.  And lots of them.  Guiding clear and thoughtful advice to my clients requires, among other things, paying careful attention to all of these authorities.  

However, at the pit (or the grill), I do not always have to color within the lines.  So, what are my favorite crayons?


  • The Big Green Egg.  If you could only purchase one grill, then this would be my choice.  It affords you great control of your cook and a wide variety of uses.  I have even baked a few cakes on it.  Really.
  • Weber Spirit E-210.  As much as I love my Egg, sometimes its nice to not to have to deal with building a fire.  Especially on rainy days.  Enter the Weber.  I have found the E-210 to be big enough for my needs.  Bonus: It can serve as a food warmer if your cook on the Egg requires multiple phases.


  • Always lump charcoal.  My favorite comes from Clay Hill, but many brands give you a decent cook.  Stay away from the briquettes. 

Recipes / Inspiration

  • Tuffy Stone’s Cool Smoke BBQ School.  This is for competition cooks, which I am certainly not.  In fact, I was the only “home cook” in my class.  That aside, a weekend with Tuffy took my barbecue to another level.  Highly recommended if you find yourself in Richmond, VA.
  • Paul Kirk’s Championship Barbecue.  This was one of my very first cookbooks and remains one of my favorites.  The recipes are very accessible.  Be sure to find the grilled potato salad recipe (which ultimately became my inspiration for my grilled Pad Thai adventures).
  • Buxton Hall Book of Smoke.  I discovered this gem during a trip to Asheville, NC.  A well-done vinegar sauce is very underrated, and Buxton Hall delivers one (and more).
  • Beth Smith’s Piecrust and Pasta.  No, this is not a barbeque cookbook or a class, but my wife’s excellent food blog/love letter to her family.  She inspires me in many ways – one of which was to step up my barbeque!  Give it a read.

I encourage you to find your crayons if you haven’t already done so.

Thank you for reading this article.  Please know that I wrote it for informational purposes only (some may consider it ADVERTISING MATERIAL) and did not intend for it to be legal advice or to form an attorney-client relationship with you – especially in jurisdictions where I am not licensed to practice law.  I encourage you to seek your own counsel to help you with your specific situation.  To that end, I invite you to contact me if you would like to discuss my services.

Ryan Smith is a partner at Practus, LLP and enables broker-dealers, registered investment advisers and their associates spend more time growing their business by helping them with the legal and compliance needs.

The Authors
Ryan P. Smith
Read Full Bio

Practus, LLP provides this information as a service to clients and others for educational purposes only. It should not be construed or relied on as legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking advice from professional advisers.

Search Icon