In House - The FindLaw Corporate Counsel Blog

In House on the Beach: 3 Vacation Tips for Working Stiffs

For in-house lawyers, the word vacation may be as foreign a concept as billable hours.

However, when the weather's hot and you want to stretch right up and touch the sky, you might realize that it's a little more difficult than you expected to do what you feel. There are unrealistic expectations and there will always be pitfalls when in-house counsel want to take time off.

Here are three tips to help you be one of those lucky in-house lawyers on the beach this summer.

Strategically Timing Time Off

Does your company have a slow season? Or maybe just a time when you know legal isn't going to be needed to answer pressing questions? If so, plan your vacations for those times. You know all too well what happens when you're not around, the gyre gets wider, the falcon flies away, the center drops out, and bad decisions get made.

Get Backup

Are you the only lawyer in your organization? If so, you may not be able to get any backup. But if there are other lawyers you can lean on, then, by all means, lean on! But before you do, make sure they know they are about to get leant upon. After all, you wouldn't want to be surprised by a deluge of emails requesting help that a fellow in house has named you in their out of office auto-reply as their go-to for questions, would you? Also, what happens if they just so happen to be on vacation too?

Bring Your Smartphone Everywhere

Seriously, get a waterproof smartphone case and forget about company culture. If there's an emergency, that requires your legal expertise, it's probably better to get a phone call while on vacation, than to come back and realize you'll be working nights and weekends for the next month because someone made a stupid decision because you weren't available. Or worse, the company's getting sued.

Protip: Make sure you have cellular data service where you're traveling. If you're going international, take a look at local "data only" service. Usually, for not very much money at all, pretty much anywhere you are in the world, you can make sure you stay connected (and also, having the ability to pull up the map of where you are anytime is an added piece of mind your travel companions aren't likely to complain about). If finding reasonable local service, just bite the bullet and pay your domestic carrier for a limited international data plan.

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