Litigation & Arbitration

Three years in and the longest vacation I’ve taken is two days off during the work week. Any tips for scheduling vacations when vacation policy has always been “unlimited, but hit your target”?

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Book the trip months in advance and communicate, communicate, communicate your vacation verbally and via email. And then communicate it again.

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That was the best advice my mentor ever gave me on this topic. He reminded me that I am not, in fact, uniquely able to do the things my cases require and that the advantage of working in a large firm is that there are other wonderfully talented people who can fill in gaps. Then be that person for someone else when they need to be out of the office. It’s simple cooperation, and it’s shockingly rare.

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upliftingsmart
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Schedule two weeks off a long time in advance, and plan to go someplace with unreliable mobile phone and internet service. Tell people then you will be on vacation starting the first day of that window. Remind them three months out, two months out, one month out, and one week out. Make sure you leave everything tidy. Then check out for two weeks. You have to deal with the billable hours but two days off in three years is unhealthy. If the firm can’t deal with any lawyer being gone for two weeks the firm isn’t properly staffed and your partner doesn’t manage properly.

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It is. But it takes that long to really unwind. You won’t regret it.

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I did this to myself over and over for my first few years of practice and all I got out of it was burnout. The best advice I ever got from a partner about taking a vacation was that, respectfully, I was not as important to my firm or my practice as I was making myself out to be. Our clients need us, but we are not saving lives. Once that sunk in, some of the guilt I was feeling about trying to take a vacation while feeling so busy faded away. I took a total of 4 weeks this year (versus a total of 7 days in the 3 years prior), and still exceeded my target and bonus thresholds. Put your vacations in your calendar at the beginning of the year and don’t cancel them.

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If that was the best advice your partner gave you on vacations I would find another source of professional guidance, because he or she is clueless. I insist that my associates to take vacations.

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Depends on the firm really. If your requirement is 1800 but they strongly encourage 1900 for a bonus, take that vacation and spare your mental health. If partners have a problem with that, maybe it’s time to take that vacation in the calendar year that you decide to change firms.

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Take vacations! You will go nuts without them. Everyone needs a break.

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In advance and around a holiday

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