As lawyers, we tend to think we're indispensable. Maybe the economy would grind to a halt if we went on vacation. Come on, let's be serious. Yes, you're special, but do you think it makes a difference to BigLaw partners which lowly associate is performing document review? The answer is no.
We're not saying don't show up for work -- but you should feel free to take the vacation you've earned. We know come summer, we start singing the Go-go's to ourselves: "Vacation, all I ever wanted."
It may seem impossible to get away from the office, but if you follow these eight easy tips, your dreams of vacation can become a reality. (Cue dreamy harp music.)
Before You Go
1. Advance Notice
Let clients, co-workers, judges -- anyone that you work with -- know that you are going to be out of town weeks in advance, so that you can schedule accordingly. That way, everyone is on notice and you're starting to let people know that you will be unavailable for a period of time.
2. Alternate Contact
Determine who will be handling any urgent matters that come up while you are gone. Make sure they know they are the secondary contact, and brief them on any potential flare up issues.
Create an auto-response message in your email account that includes the dates you will be gone, and an alternate contact. You may want to add a day or two to the dates you'll be gone so that gives you a day or so to get back to people. Make sure your spam filters are strong because spammers love auto-response. Finally, if you are going to be in an area without phone/Internet service, make that clear in the auto-response.
4. Finish What You Can
Try to clear your desk as much as you can so you can leave knowing that you don't have anything huge pending when you get back.
While You Are Away
5. Check In
This would be a perfect time for a digital detox, but if you can't keep yourself from checking in, set aside a specific time for no more than thirty minutes. Any longer, and you run the risk of your family hating you for working during the whole vacation.
6. Selectively Respond
Only respond to urgent matters, otherwise colleagues will start bombarding you with non-urgent matters. Trust us on this one.
When You Get Back
7. Avoid Deadlines
Try not to schedule big projects or deadlines for your first two days back from vacation.
8. Catch Up
Spend a good part of your first two days back catching up on email and meeting with colleagues to get up to speed on what you missed while you were gone.
Taking vacation as a lawyer is not impossible, you just need to lay the proper foundation. Everyone deserves to drink piña colada's on the beach -- even sharky lawyers.