{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "First year here taking my first actual vacation at the end of September. How do you set boundaries with people (partners) to protect your vacation? I understand emergencies are emergencies so I’ll have my firm laptop if something does come up, but I’m wondering if anyone has any first year tips", "post_id": "5f54cb60ed10df00266bbcfd", "reply_count": 26, "vote_count": 11, "bowl_id": "552d1d24dc1c586b09d2d052", "bowl_name": "Law", "feed_type": "crowd" }

First year here taking my first actual vacation at the end of September. How do you set boundaries with people (partners) to protect your vacation? I understand emergencies are emergencies so I’ll have my firm laptop if something does come up, but I’m wondering if anyone has any first year tips

likehelpful
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Send a reminder in the weeks leading up to the trip, and send follow-up reminders by replying to the first one (to establish you've been consistent with your reminders). Ask to schedule a time to circle up with your team in the day or two before you leave for each matter so that if they have anything they want you to do before heading out, you have time to do it. Tell people you are leaving 2-3 hours before you actually are so that if anything last minute pops up, you don't stress yourself to the max trying to finish and get out the door. Finally, if anyone goes above and beyond to help cover for you, be appreciative when you get back online because it will foster that type of relationship moving forward. Enjoy the time away!!

likehelpfulsmart

Associate 2 is spot on. However, no matter all the prep work you put into this, you’ll undoubtedly have at least one partner emailing /calling you while you’re away frantic with an “emergency” assignment while claiming she or he had no idea you were on vacation. You’ll end up panicking and valuable vacation time will be spent trying to make your boss happy. Then, the cherry on top - you’ve been back from vacation for 2-3 weeks now and notice your “emergency” assignment is still sitting on your partner’s desk untouched. Pretty sure that’s a right of passage for all associate.

likesmarthelpful

There is no emergency — none — that justifies interfering with vacation. Being able to completely check out is one benefit of working for a law firm. Tell the partner you are going to be off the grid. The partner can get coverage.

likesmarthelpfuluplifting

Wholeheartedly agree with this sentiment! Although, I imagine the more experience you get, the easier it is to point that out. Almost certain there is no way I would have been able to tell my partner this as a first year associate going on my first vacation. I, stupidly, cared way too much about what people thought of me.

Also, be prepared that other associates may be the ones to not respect your boundaries. I had a third year associate email me that it was unacceptable for me to be unavailable while on vacation and that I wasn’t fit to work in big law because of it. He CCed our entire team, and I was mortified. He got in trouble, and the partners apologized to me for him.

likefunnyuplifting

He sounds like a dope.

like

Automatic Out of Office Replies. It's just to let the partners who email you know. You can always respond separately a little later asking whether your assistance is still required.

like

Someone in another thread said to make sure you turn off and on your automatic replies every day during your vacation, so that it will resend to people who have already received it and may have forgotten towards the end of the week. I think it’s brilliant, just can’t take credit.

likehelpfulsmart

Get coverage from another junior associate. And offer to (and actually do when the time comes) cover them while they’re on vacation. If you do get coverage, give the other person as much detail as you can, think of what will come up while you’re away or ask your superiors if you don’t know, forward them relevant emails and try to make it easy for to attend to your matters without bugging you. I like to send an email with all the detail and relevant email chains attached and then jump on the phone to talk it through. Be honest about your availability if they need help - like will you only be checking emails in the evening, can they call your cell if they have an urgent question, etc.

likehelpful

I am in the same position. This is also the first vacation I’ve take since I started last September. I announced to my group that I was taking the week off at the end of September a month before in August. I’ll send a reminder email the week before I go on vacation. And depending on what is going on, I may have to work out with another associate/the partner coverage for my matters - if needed. However, aside from that, I really don’t see a reason for people to reach out to me when I’m off line. Versions of docs I work on are on iManage for people to find and honestly, any other associate can do the work that I can do. Unless there is a document that only I have or they need help finding or something, I don’t plan on doing work and I’ll be willing to turn people away, if they reach out to me. It’s really hard to set boundaries as a junior, but the reality is there really isn’t any reason to give into people except that you feel guilty.

likesmart

I email my partners ahead of time telling them I’m going on vacation. I also do out of office email. If my assistant is in when I’m out, I can forward my phone to hers. I also do not pick up the phone when on vacation. My partner called me and I didn’t pick up or call back. That’s how I set my boundaries. If I’m continuously available, they will not respect my boundaries. This is the first break I’ve taken in one year and I needed it for my sanity and health.

likesmart

Lots of good tips here. I also like to make an out of office calendar event and invite anyone I’m working with at the time. This was standard practice in my practice group at my firm. Also expect that even if you provide advance notice and remind people 3x, they’ll still forget and ask for work anyway. But IME usually they back off when they remember you’re out.

likehelpful

If your vacay is more important to you than your job, i would keep that little secret to myself

funnylike

Founder 1, if you’re not just trolling, then you don’t manage whatever you founded well. All we do is bet the company litigation. So our matters are important, and when our clients need us, they really need us. But we have a staffing model that has allowed both senior members of our team to take six month no contact sabbaticals in the last 4 years, and that allows everyone on our teams to take off the grid multi week vacations at least once a year. We just cover for one another. Good managers can and do make that work, and there isn’t a lawyer on the planet who is indispensable. Anyone who thinks otherwise is kidding themselves.

likeupliftingsmart

All the above but also, you don’t. Take your 200K salary, say thank you and recognize the reason you’re paid as exorbitantly as you are. Be responsive and ready to help for a couple of hours, but obviously don’t work the entire vacation.

like

There’s a huge amount of martyr syndrome in big law. People don’t realize we aren’t saving lives, we’re really just protecting rich companies and their money. A very short period of time after we retire/die, no one will care about the “important” “emergencies” that pop up all the time. That said, we all know this business is full of slightly unbalanced individuals. I’ve chosen to deal with it for the time being for the sake of my family financially, but no one should pretend it’s either normal or healthy.

likeuplifting

Coordinate with the associates to make sure everything is covered. I usually don’t care which associate is doing things as long as they are being covered. Let people know well in advance that you’re going away and give updates as it gets closer. Beyond that some interruption (emails and maybe phone calls) is inevitable. Do your best to be flexible and people will generally try to avoid bothering someone on vacation.

like

Out of office reply. Reminder emails. Calendar vacations months ahead on partners’ calendars (the ones you work with). Also, I had one partner that would inevitably ask me to do something that would screw up my leave time. I started telling him that I was happy to work on it but at quitting time, I would send it in whatever state it is in and would copy the other associates so he could assign it accordingly. Also, let calls go to voicemail. Then, the partner will likely just leave a message for a call back but send an email about the real issue. Then, you can call briefly or reply to the email. Once you go past 3 years or so, I started having in my reply email that I had limited cell reception where I am going. Also, i would say if it is an emergency, please call my legal assistant, [], at [].

helpful

Pretty bold of you to assume you get a vacation in your first year....

uplifting

First years — maybe more than anyone — need vacation this year.

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