By JILL ROSENFELD
Douglas Kranwinkle is a Dodgers fan one day, a Yankees fan the next.
As managing partner at O'Melveny & Myers, Kranwinkle leads a bicoastal life, traveling between his San Gabriel Valley home and his Manhattan apartment.
"I travel over 200,000 miles a year," he said. "There's just no down time. With e-mail and voicemail you're reachable 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days of the year. I find myself checking my voicemail on the Fourth of July and Christmas. Thirty years ago, weekends were yours. You may have worked really hard five days a week, but that was it."
Kranwinkle epitomizes a growing number of executives who measure their life not in days and weeks, but in frequent-flyer miles. Some executives, like Kranwinkle, lead bicoastal lives, with a home in one city and a pied-a-terre in another.
These executives keep what seem like impossible schedules, touching down at home for a night, flying out the next day, showering at the office, finding a few moments of respite on an airplane. For them, work is often fun and challenging. If it weren't, they wouldn't be able to sustain the pace.
Kranwinkle, 57, maintains equilibrium by going to bed at a reasonable hour, and by sleeping for a couple of hours whenever he flies. He usually travels first class; with the recent corporate emphasis on frugality, not all business travelers are so lucky.
"The best moments away from work, oddly enough, are when I'm on an airplane," said Kranwinkle. "There is a way to uplink the phone on your seat, but I never do it."
Airplanes also afford him time to talk with his wife, Susan, who often travels with him. "We do have a little downtime at home, but on that plane we have five or six hours together. We get a lot of time to talk without interruption. When I took on this job, my children were grown, and my wife was able to travel with me. This would be a terrible job otherwise."
Most of Kranwinkle's flying time is spent going between the firm's Los Angeles and New York offices. One week, he made a total of three coast-to-coast trips. That meant catching an 8 a.m. plane from New York to L.A., arriving here at 11 a.m., meeting with clients until 8 p.m., taking the red-eye back to New York, spending the day and evening in New York, and getting up the following morning to do it all over again twice.
"We have a shower on the 54th floor of the Citicorp building (in downtown L.A.) where I go if I need to keep myself awake," he said. "And I keep a clean shirt in the office."
While Kranwinkle works in New York, Susan Kranwinkle occupies her time with classes, museums, shopping, and by attending dress rehearsals of the opera (a friend was formerly a diva). "She really likes to travel. She smells jet fuel in her sleep, I think," he said. The couple has a housekeeper who looks after their home while they are in New York.
Kranwinkle tries to keep stress at bay with a regular exercise routine. Twice a week, he bicycles at 6 a.m. in Los Angeles. He also plays tennis every Saturday afternoon with a regular group. In New York, he plays at the River Club on Saturday night or Sunday night. "It's a great way to work off nervous energy. Early-morning meetings make it hard, and I'm not nearly as religious about it as I'd like to be," he says.
As January approaches, Kranwinkle finds himself coast-hopping with even greater frequency to attend fiscal year-end strategic-planning meetings. At those meetings, which take place at O'Melveny's Washington, D.C., New York and Los Angeles offices, he will talk with partners about the firm's direction, and about how to anticipate clients' needs.
"We have to provide services clients want, and a lot of that depends on what's happening in the market," said Kranwinkle. "With the worldwide economic crisis, companies are going to engage in a lot of new kinds of activities, and we want to be there to help them."
That means educating lawyers, and making them experts in areas that will soon become hot.
"Competition is much more severe nowadays because it comes from all over the world," he said. "The law practice, when I first started in the mid-'60s, was very local in nature. We tried cases in local court that involved transactions between local companies. Now the economy has become so global in nature."
The global nature of business also has brought a demand for longer hours. "With time zone differences, I may be talking to someone in Tokyo at midnight, and vice versa," he said.
Business also has become more intrusive, as Kranwinkle found out during a visit to his third home in Sun Valley, Idaho, where his son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren also live. A call came in from client Lockheed Martin Corp. There was an important meeting Kranwinkle absolutely had to attend. "I said, 'I'll do everything I can to get there, but you know, connections are tough from here,' " he recalls. At that, Lockheed promptly sent a jet to pick him up.
"Today, communications are so instantaneous, people expect you to be responsive all the time," Kranwinkle said. "Even when you're on vacation you're expected to stay in touch. That's stressful. There's no time to recover."
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