“I’ve learned to just allow myself to feel sad and then move forward.”
I oversee all the legal work and manage our team of attorneys, legal assistants, and adminis-
trative staff in Fort Worth, Texas. That involves figuring out how many cases we can take, [devising]
legal strategies, and managing attorneys and project managers in our [five] other offices. I have my
own caseload as well, about 30 cases that I’m actively working on, and about 60 that are pending.
I go to the detention center about every other week. It’s sensory overload. Heavy, locked doors are
constantly being opened and shut, making loud, banging sounds, so it’s hard to hear my client speak.
The guards walk up and down the hall with their walkie-talkies, and we can constantly hear their
communication with the other guards. It is very distracting. The meeting rooms are barren and drab,
with fluorescent lighting. It’s not conducive to people opening up and telling me about the worst mo-
ments of their lives. It is a dehumanizing and draining experience.
I’ve learned to just allow myself to feel sad and then move forward. After I experience sadness over
having lost a case or some awful new policy, like separating children from their parents, I try to find
an outlet—either exercise or talking with coworkers. Humor helps.
I also make sure to have regularly scheduled self-care days in our office where we do something
fun and take a break from the serious nature of our work. I think it helps prevent burnout.
—As told to Pavithra Mohan
Time she gets up
6: 30 a.m.
First thing she does in
“I listen to the news while I get
ready for work.”
“Know your limits. In every line of
work, there’s pressure to take
on more. that’s especially true
in nonprofit because there’s
always somebody who needs
help, and we want to help.
but I know that if I take on
too many cases or too many
commitments, it’s going to stress
me out. I would be doing a
disservice to the cases I already
have. and I let my staff know
that: If they can’t do something,
they don’t have to feel bad
What she does with
15 minutes of free time
“What I’ve really enjoyed this past
year is an online space where a
group of other attorneys commiserate or share funny stories.
I like to scan through that forum
and see what other people are
experiencing right now.”
“going to the gym. When I’m
tired, I know I still need to do it
because it’ll keep me healthy
and burn off some stress.”
“the end of the day is when I
like to look at social media.
I think there’s some study that
says you’re not supposed to,
but I sleep just fine.”
Time she goes to bed
“a little past 11.”
jennifer de haro managing attorney at refugee and immigrant center for education
and legal services (raices)
e e e ee e e e e e e e ee e dd
– Peter Bregman Leadership Guru, and Host of Ford Transit Connect and FastCo Works new productivity video series, “The Specialists.”
Spend the last 5 minutes of every day making tomorrow even better. Ask yourself:;
“What worked today? What didn’t? How do I want to approach tomorrow?” Then
incorporate your learnings into tomorrow’s plan.;