Tips for Lawyers Who Feel They Can't Take Vacations

Laptop computer on wood table at the beach in summer
By William Vogeler, Esq. on June 24, 2019 3:00 PM

There's only one way a lawyer can take a real vacation: stop being a lawyer.

We can say that because, well, we're lawyers here at FindLaw, and we know there is no real escape from the law. Even when you "take a vacation," somebody or something legal is going to happen to you.

It may only be a text message, an email, or a phone call, but they are all loaded with potential legal repercussions. You know it's true, so here are some tips on how to deal with it.

Plan Way Ahead

According to surveys, many lawyers don't feel comfortable taking vacation time. That's because they can't figure out how to leave their work behind or they can't afford to do it. Despite such ever-present demands of the law, you can do this. It's about planning. Here's what you need to do:

  • Make a to-do list
  • Work around deadlines
  • Give others advance notice
  • Provide alternate contacts
  • Automate phone and email responses

If You Have to Check In

Despite your best-laid plans, you are probably going to get trapped in a legal situation while you're on vacation. Here's how to minimize those moments:

  • Don't take calls
  • Check your messages
  • Respond selectively

"Only respond to urgent matters, otherwise colleagues will start bombarding you with non-urgent matters," said FindLaw's Gabriella Khorasanee.

Don't Be a Lawyer All the Time

Before you were a lawyer, you used to be a person. Be that person for a while. Surfer, shopper, candlestick maker -- it's all good for a couple of weeks, or at least a couple of days.

If you make it to a beach, a tour bus, a cruise, or anywhere you would rather be than the office or a courtroom, resist the temptation to answer legal questions. If you decided to take a continuing legal education trip, however, you'll have to answer for yourself.

But wow, you really, really need a vacation.

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