Checking In or Checking Out on Vacation?

College student: ‘I am interested in pursuing law, and I was just wondering, on average, how many weeks of vacation a starting out lawyer would receive?’

Columnist: “Ha, ha, ha. Oh my gosh! That’s a good one. Next question.”

As if lawyers actually take vacations … it’s more about managing the time you take to get away from the office. The “checking-in” method can help.

Checking In

It’s a method we have all used, typically with people we care about — like a spouse or a child. We call to see how they are doing, “just checking-in.”

In law practice, it means conscientiously checking-in with the receptionist, the clerk, an attorney and sometimes clients. It also applies to messages, email and social media accounts.

The idea is to stay in touch on a regular basis because, after all, you are going to think about your job when you are “on vacation” anyway. Checking-in is not working; it is relieving.

Checking Out

On the slip side, some lawyers turn off their phones, send messages to voice-mail or let email pile up in their inbox. This could work for a weekender, but not much longer.

That’s because you really can’t expect opposing counsel, the court or even clients to wait while you lay out on the beach. It’s not that they don’t love you; they just don’t care.

Poor Stan Davis got no love for missing an email. The opposing counsel took advantage by filing a motion to dismiss his case.

Taking a vacation is ultimately about taking the right time. As the sage Merovingian said: “Who has time? Who has time? But then if we do not ever take time, how can we ever have time?”

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