Biglaw vacations

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Anonymous User
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Biglaw vacations

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:36 am

1 week vacation, twice a year (say February and August but any time is fine), with plenty of notice (at least 3 months). Limited access to email during that time (I'll check at least once a day) BUT I cannot run back to the office, as I'll be out of the country. Is that unreasonable for a NYC/DC/Chi biglaw junior/midlevel litigation associate?

I am willing to put in the hours, but I need something to look forward to. This is a serious question, no snark please.

Anonymous User
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Re: Biglaw vacations

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:16 am

Sounds like you are going on drug runs overseas ala Denzel in American Gangster.

Anonymous User
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Re: Biglaw vacations

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:19 am

I'm not really sure what you want us to say.

What is your firm's policy? What is considered customary?

I know at the firm I summered with, there were people who took 0, 1, or 2 weeks. I know people were looked at a little funny if they took the 2nd week before they had met their hours for the year.

Only you and your firm can decide if checking email once a day is enough. I also wouldn't be shocked if longterm plans made way ahead of time have to be cancelled because of client or partner demands.

turbotong
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Re: Biglaw vacations

Postby turbotong » Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:21 am

From what I heard, your hours are set by the client's demands. How much last minute "we gotta finish this now" stuff happens really depends on the area you're working in.
Firms might not make you give up your vacation and might plan ahead to not depend on you. However, the fact that you value your vacation over helping last minute emergencies at the firm will be noted when it comes to bonus/promotion time.

Anonymous User
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Re: Biglaw vacations

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:34 am

Another thing to note is that from everything I've heard, it's much easier to plan vacation if you are in litigation instead of corporate because the court calendar dictates things, whereas corporate work is just often on a whim from the client's desires. Obviously things like a TRO can pop up at the last-minute before you head on vacation, but usually litigation is scheduled more in advance.

Anonymous User
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Re: Biglaw vacations

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:36 am

I am pretty sure that everybody at the firm I summered at in Boston takes their full 4 weeks.

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Big Shrimpin
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Re: Biglaw vacations

Postby Big Shrimpin » Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:03 am

Anonymous User wrote:1 week vacation, twice a year (say February and August but any time is fine), with plenty of notice (at least 3 months). Limited access to email during that time (I'll check at least once a day) BUT I cannot run back to the office, as I'll be out of the country. Is that unreasonable for a NYC/DC/Chi biglaw junior/midlevel litigation associate?

I am willing to put in the hours, but I need something to look forward to. This is a serious question, no snark please.


Many juniors at my firm took vacations this summer. As echoed ITT, your ability to take vacation is largely a function of: (1) your ongoing responsibilities in a case/deal, (2) whether and to what extent the case/deal is in a non-work-intensive phase or recently settled/completed, (3) how much notice you give, and (4) expectations of the individuals (e.g. the important ones) with whom you work. For example, I've heard stories/seen situations where, after a big case settles/deal closes, the partner tells the associate to take the following week off (to be sure, however, the lead-up work to that point was grueling).

I think the biggest consideration here is your volume of work. You won't be able to anticipate volume to any precise degree, so vacation may be something you get on the fly, so long as it's not like a honeymoon or something (I've never heard of partners/senior associates dinging juniors for stuff like that, provided there's PLENTY of notice beforehand). Some seasons you're slammed, and others you're not. One of the best pieces of advice I've heard: the work will (almost always) be there...if you don't take time when you can, you'll never have any time off...so if you've got nothing pressing going on, by all means, take some vacation (unless you're a soulless gunner, hell-bent on not having any semblance of a social life).

Anonymous User
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Re: Biglaw vacations

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:07 am

All my biglaw friends take vacation with no problem. It's much easier to take a Friday or Monday off and go to Vegas than it is to take a whole week off and go to Europe though. With your biglaw $$$, you should be able to hop on a plane to paris for a michelin star dinner and an evening at the ritz no problem and be back monday for a deposition.

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joeshmo39
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Re: Biglaw vacations

Postby joeshmo39 » Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:15 am

At a CB lunch I was told that it's actually easier for 1st to 3rd year associates to take vacation than for older associates. Younger associates have little experience and knowledge so their skills are interchangeable. By year 5 or 6 you have more specialty and it's hard for the firm to just find someone else to do your task for a week. Most young associates I talked to said they didn't have much trouble taking vacation time.

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Re: Biglaw vacations

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:16 am

In about 5.5 years at a V20 firm, I took a 1.5 week vacation, a 1.5 week paternity leave,* two 1 week vacations, and a bunch (probably 2x a year, not counting holidays) of four day weekends. The 1.5 week vacation came at a busy time (not my fault; it was a European trip scheduled around a wedding that was on the calendar months in advance), and I had to work a lot the first half of it -- I think I pissed some people off (not the least of which was my wife). The rest of the vacations were pretty uneventful, work-wise. I was definitely took less vacation than most. It seemed like the single and childless people preferred a model where they work a lot more hours while at work, but take a lot more vacation. I actually knew a woman who took like 8 weeks one year (firm policy was standard 4 weeks) -- but she also billed 2500 hours that year, so no one cared. She also made partner a couple of years later.

* Shortly after I took the leave, the policy was changed to pro-rate the rest of the year so that taking parental leave wasn't counted against you. I would have taken the entire authorized four weeks if it had been the policy at the time I took it.

desertlaw
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Re: Biglaw vacations

Postby desertlaw » Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:52 am

When you take a 3-day weekend vacation or even just go out of town from Friday night - Sunday night, is this something you want to tell the firm? I'd love to be working BigLaw in LA, take a Fright evening flight to Vegas and not have an e-mail from a partner the moment I sit down at the blackjack table. But I also don't want to have to tell my supervisors that I'm going to Vegas for the 5th weekend in 2 months.

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Re: Biglaw vacations

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:53 am

desertlaw wrote:When you take a 3-day weekend vacation or even just go out of town from Friday night - Sunday night, is this something you want to tell the firm? I'd love to be working BigLaw in LA, take a Fright evening flight to Vegas and not have an e-mail from a partner the moment I sit down at the blackjack table. But I also don't want to have to tell my supervisors that I'm going to Vegas for the 5th weekend in 2 months.


Know people who do this once a month. It's not a vacation, no need to put in a request for ad ay off-- just keep your phone on and be willing to work by the pool and you'll be fine.

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Re: Biglaw vacations

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 25, 2011 1:51 pm

i heard from a few attorneys already that it's actually very hard to take 3 day weekends and people frown upon it - it's much easier to take an entire week off. i guess it could be annoying to partners if you take off every other friday rather than just take the entire week off and get your vacation out of they way. thought this was surprising but already heard it from more than once attorney.

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Blindmelon
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Re: Biglaw vacations

Postby Blindmelon » Tue Oct 25, 2011 1:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I am pretty sure that everybody at the firm I summered at in Boston takes their full 4 weeks.


What firm is that? Thats not entirely common... and I'm guessing you didn't summer at RG/WH/GP.

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Re: Biglaw vacations

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 25, 2011 2:38 pm

Anonymous User wrote:i heard from a few attorneys already that it's actually very hard to take 3 day weekends and people frown upon it - it's much easier to take an entire week off. i guess it could be annoying to partners if you take off every other friday rather than just take the entire week off and get your vacation out of they way. thought this was surprising but already heard it from more than once attorney.


I think if you do this once a month or every two months its fine. Every other week would get annoying no matter where you work.

Anonymous User
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Re: Biglaw vacations

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:35 pm

The sense I got at the firm I was at this summer was that 3 day weekends are hard not because it annoys the people you're working for but because they simply won't adjust your work load at all as they will just say "Well they'll be back tomorrow/monday, no point in asking someone else to do it". if you are going to be gone for a whole week, they are more likely to get someone else in to cover for you and so you are less likely to have to be working while away. Basically for that, the longer the better. I also saw associates covering for each other on deals during people's vacation voluntarily, presumably a favor that is reciprocated later.

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paratactical
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Re: Biglaw vacations

Postby paratactical » Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:45 pm

It depends on the firm and the practice, but you really can't get too married to specific yearly dates (ie an associate who always tried to attend a yearly event was often bummed, but associates who were open to any week in the spring fared better). It also depends on what kinds of cases you get staffed on. I had three years in a row where I could not travel over Thanksgiving or Christmas because of cases and I was just a paralegal. No associates were going anywhere if they were on those cases. Also, it's not terribly frequent, but firms will ask you to change or cancel your plans no matter how far in advance they were made if changes to the schedule happen.

Anonymous User
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Re: Biglaw vacations

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:52 pm

Question: if they make you cancel, do they reimburse you for anything that was non refundable? What about for spouses etc(assuming they're not going to go without you if you can't)?

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JusticeHarlan
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Re: Biglaw vacations

Postby JusticeHarlan » Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:54 pm

Blindmelon wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I am pretty sure that everybody at the firm I summered at in Boston takes their full 4 weeks.


What firm is that? Thats not entirely common... and I'm guessing you didn't summer at RG/WH/GP.

Was gonna ask this too. PM is you feel comfortable.

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paratactical
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Re: Biglaw vacations

Postby paratactical » Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Question: if they make you cancel, do they reimburse you for anything that was non refundable? What about for spouses etc(assuming they're not going to go without you if you can't)?

The only time I heard of anyone getting reimbursed for anything was when they made a woman postpone her wedding and that was by the grace and from the pocket of a partner on the case who liked her. The view I've heard expressed if that they are paying you enough for you not to need to use cheap, nonrefundable rates.

sebastian0622
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Re: Biglaw vacations

Postby sebastian0622 » Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:57 pm

Have you seen the scene in The Verdict where the partner asks the associate if he is taking vacation starting the next day? Then tells his secretary to send the associate's wife flowers to apologize for their vacation being canceled?

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Tom Joad
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Re: Biglaw vacations

Postby Tom Joad » Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:26 pm

paratactical wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Question: if they make you cancel, do they reimburse you for anything that was non refundable? What about for spouses etc(assuming they're not going to go without you if you can't)?

The only time I heard of anyone getting reimbursed for anything was when they made a woman postpone her wedding and that was by the grace and from the pocket of a partner on the case who liked her. The view I've heard expressed if that they are paying you enough for you not to need to use cheap, nonrefundable rates.


That kind of sucks for the associate, but it was really nice of the partner. I assume it cost a pretty penny.

Anonymous User
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Re: Biglaw vacations

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:29 pm

paratactical wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Question: if they make you cancel, do they reimburse you for anything that was non refundable? What about for spouses etc(assuming they're not going to go without you if you can't)?

The only time I heard of anyone getting reimbursed for anything was when they made a woman postpone her wedding and that was by the grace and from the pocket of a partner on the case who liked her. The view I've heard expressed if that they are paying you enough for you not to need to use cheap, nonrefundable rates.


That's nice of the partner but sucks for anyone flying in for the wedding who does not make enough to purchase refundable tickets.

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nealric
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Re: Biglaw vacations

Postby nealric » Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:44 pm

The view I've heard expressed if that they are paying you enough for you not to need to use cheap, nonrefundable rates.


Just fly on Southwest and reschedule for free.




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