On Vacations

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On Vacations

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Oct 15, 2016 4:01 pm

So one firm I am considering has an awesome 4-week paid vacation policy for 1st years. This sounds amazing, but isn't it really, really hard to actually take vacations? The firm does not have a billable requirement. Still, though, I imagine it is very hard to have constant work and then tell people "Ok, well I am going on vacation for 2 weeks so someone else will have to finish the assignmentyou just gave me".

Are vacation policies nothing more words on paper? Or do people actually get to use them

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LaLiLuLeLo

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Re: On Vacations

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Sat Oct 15, 2016 4:12 pm

Vacation is a real thing and is usually encouraged. People aren't ignorant of the high burnout rate. Most practice groups have predictable lulls - and even if they don't, it's relatively easy to figure out coverage for your absense. One thing that surprised me is that it's actually easier for everyone if you take a longer vacation - think a week+. A lot easier to arrange someone to cover for you if it's longer.

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Lacepiece23

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Re: On Vacations

Postby Lacepiece23 » Sat Oct 15, 2016 5:11 pm

I don't know anyone who took four weeks in their first year. Two females in my class took two weeks for their marriage. But they didn't take any days off the rest of the year.

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Re: On Vacations

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Oct 15, 2016 6:07 pm

OP here. Not looking to make partner or even be at the firm for more than 3 years. Hoping I can use all 4 weeks each year

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Lacepiece23

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Re: On Vacations

Postby Lacepiece23 » Sat Oct 15, 2016 6:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here. Not looking to make partner or even be at the firm for more than 3 years. Hoping I can use all 4 weeks each year


If your firm has a shit ton of work then each go ahead to the extent you can and someone can cover. If you're at a firm that's slower and you need to fight a little for work, you might find yourself off teams and not able to meet hours. And you may not make it three years.

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Re: On Vacations

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Oct 15, 2016 10:51 pm

My firm does not have a specific vacation policy, you just take time off when you want to and as long as you get your work done and its not terribly disruptive to your teams, there's no limit. The way that seems to work out in practice for associates is one full 2ish week vacation per year, the days between christmas and new years, and a lot of long weekends. People aren't taking multiple 1+ week vacations per year, excluding the dec 25-jan 2 period when no one comes in anyway.

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Re: On Vacations

Postby arklaw13 » Sat Oct 15, 2016 11:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:My firm does not have a specific vacation policy, you just take time off when you want to and as long as you get your work done and its not terribly disruptive to your teams, there's no limit. The way that seems to work out in practice for associates is one full 2ish week vacation per year, the days between christmas and new years, and a lot of long weekends. People aren't taking multiple 1+ week vacations per year, excluding the dec 25-jan 2 period when no one comes in anyway.


Speaking of Christmas, how many days before the 25th do people usually take off? Assume a first year in litigation. Any way to know enough ahead of time to get decent plane tickets, or am I just going to be stuck buying them a week before?

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Re: On Vacations

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Oct 15, 2016 11:37 pm

arklaw13 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:My firm does not have a specific vacation policy, you just take time off when you want to and as long as you get your work done and its not terribly disruptive to your teams, there's no limit. The way that seems to work out in practice for associates is one full 2ish week vacation per year, the days between christmas and new years, and a lot of long weekends. People aren't taking multiple 1+ week vacations per year, excluding the dec 25-jan 2 period when no one comes in anyway.


Speaking of Christmas, how many days before the 25th do people usually take off? Assume a first year in litigation. Any way to know enough ahead of time to get decent plane tickets, or am I just going to be stuck buying them a week before?


Depends what day of the week these days fall on. I book for 24th or christmas day. People work up to 23rd if its a weekday. (Also, people definitely work between christmas and new years, they just aren't in the office).

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Re: On Vacations

Postby arklaw13 » Sat Oct 15, 2016 11:45 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
arklaw13 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:My firm does not have a specific vacation policy, you just take time off when you want to and as long as you get your work done and its not terribly disruptive to your teams, there's no limit. The way that seems to work out in practice for associates is one full 2ish week vacation per year, the days between christmas and new years, and a lot of long weekends. People aren't taking multiple 1+ week vacations per year, excluding the dec 25-jan 2 period when no one comes in anyway.


Speaking of Christmas, how many days before the 25th do people usually take off? Assume a first year in litigation. Any way to know enough ahead of time to get decent plane tickets, or am I just going to be stuck buying them a week before?


Depends what day of the week these days fall on. I book for 24th or christmas day. People work up to 23rd if its a weekday. (Also, people definitely work between christmas and new years, they just aren't in the office).


So I'll probably be safe flying out the evening of the 23rd since it's a Friday? Obviously going to check with people at my firm too.

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Re: On Vacations

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 16, 2016 12:44 am

arklaw13 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
arklaw13 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:My firm does not have a specific vacation policy, you just take time off when you want to and as long as you get your work done and its not terribly disruptive to your teams, there's no limit. The way that seems to work out in practice for associates is one full 2ish week vacation per year, the days between christmas and new years, and a lot of long weekends. People aren't taking multiple 1+ week vacations per year, excluding the dec 25-jan 2 period when no one comes in anyway.


Speaking of Christmas, how many days before the 25th do people usually take off? Assume a first year in litigation. Any way to know enough ahead of time to get decent plane tickets, or am I just going to be stuck buying them a week before?


Depends what day of the week these days fall on. I book for 24th or christmas day. People work up to 23rd if its a weekday. (Also, people definitely work between christmas and new years, they just aren't in the office).


So I'll probably be safe flying out the evening of the 23rd since it's a Friday? Obviously going to check with people at my firm too.


Yea I would definitely feel safe doing that. But each firm is different--what's most important is to check with who you work with.

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Re: On Vacations

Postby shock259 » Sun Oct 16, 2016 5:52 pm

It's going to be really hard to take 4 weeks and get your hours. You're going to lose hours because of the actual time off, the lag time associated with taking time off (people aren't going to give you work if you are leaving in a week), and also because people won't get to know you as well.

I'd be wary of coming in way under hours as a first year. It's fine if people will vouch for you, your group was slow, or other things were outside of your control. But if it is because you took 1 month off of work, people are going to ask questions.

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Re: On Vacations

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 16, 2016 7:52 pm

shock259 wrote:It's going to be really hard to take 4 weeks and get your hours. You're going to lose hours because of the actual time off, the lag time associated with taking time off (people aren't going to give you work if you are leaving in a week), and also because people won't get to know you as well.

I'd be wary of coming in way under hours as a first year. It's fine if people will vouch for you, your group was slow, or other things were outside of your control. But if it is because you took 1 month off of work, people are going to ask questions.


There is no set billable requirement

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LaLiLuLeLo

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Re: On Vacations

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Sun Oct 16, 2016 7:58 pm

Even with no set requirement there is an expectation of a certain amount of billable hours. That being said, you'll get in a groove and figure out when you can and can't take vacation with minimal impact to your hours.

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TLSModBot

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Re: On Vacations

Postby TLSModBot » Sun Oct 16, 2016 8:14 pm

We get unlimited vacation days

So long as we don't go anywhere and still come in the office and bill

(weeps silently)

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Re: On Vacations

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 16, 2016 8:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
arklaw13 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:My firm does not have a specific vacation policy, you just take time off when you want to and as long as you get your work done and its not terribly disruptive to your teams, there's no limit. The way that seems to work out in practice for associates is one full 2ish week vacation per year, the days between christmas and new years, and a lot of long weekends. People aren't taking multiple 1+ week vacations per year, excluding the dec 25-jan 2 period when no one comes in anyway.


Speaking of Christmas, how many days before the 25th do people usually take off? Assume a first year in litigation. Any way to know enough ahead of time to get decent plane tickets, or am I just going to be stuck buying them a week before?


Depends what day of the week these days fall on. I book for 24th or christmas day. People work up to 23rd if its a weekday. (Also, people definitely work between christmas and new years, they just aren't in the office).


Last year I had sadistic mid level assign me a completely unimportant, but huge assignment due December 24. No extensions allowed, and the assignment was such that I would be working 24/7. Don't underestimate the shittiness of biglaw attorneys.

Edit: comment was not necessarily made to the poster I responded to, but just to the thread in general.

RaceJudicata

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Re: On Vacations

Postby RaceJudicata » Sun Oct 16, 2016 8:50 pm

Capitol_Idea wrote:We get unlimited vacation days


Aren't these unlimited vacation policies just another way for firms (or companies in general) to avoid having to pay out unused vacation days?

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Re: On Vacations

Postby TLSModBot » Sun Oct 16, 2016 8:57 pm

RaceJudicata wrote:
Capitol_Idea wrote:We get unlimited vacation days


Aren't these unlimited vacation policies just another way for firms (or companies in general) to avoid having to pay out unused vacation days?

(Weeps slightly louder)

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Re: On Vacations

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 16, 2016 9:01 pm

Capitol_Idea wrote:
RaceJudicata wrote:
Capitol_Idea wrote:We get unlimited vacation days


Aren't these unlimited vacation policies just another way for firms (or companies in general) to avoid having to pay out unused vacation days?

(Weeps slightly louder)


Having worked at firms that have both (small sample alert), people feel more comfortable taking vacation when you get a payout in the end versus "unlimited," which, yes, is an excuse to skirt vacation laws.

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Toni V

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Re: On Vacations

Postby Toni V » Sun Oct 16, 2016 11:25 pm

My firm also offers four-weeks. While I love vacations, I love bonuses even better. Meaning that time off is contingent on hours. If all goes well, one two-week vacation, one one-week vacation and the balance for random days off.

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Re: On Vacations

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 18, 2016 11:49 pm

Mid-level lit associate here. Just got back from a 10-day vacation -- had two or three days of work while on vacation (2-3 hours each day), and checked email for 20 minutes a day for the rest of the trip. Realistically, unless you are on massive teams for which you can easily get coverage, you're going to stay tethered to the office because things aren't going to grind to a halt while you're away. I think two one-week vacations, an extended Thanksgiving (maybe tack on an extra day on the front end), the week between Christmas and New Years, along with a smattering of three- and four- day weekends is a feasible vacation schedule. You won't end up too badly in the hours hole, and as long as you provide ample notice and/or stay connected to the office, people won't think you're just jetsetting all the time/not putting in the facetime.

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Re: On Vacations

Postby Magic Hat » Wed Oct 19, 2016 2:38 am

Capitol_Idea wrote:
RaceJudicata wrote:
Capitol_Idea wrote:We get unlimited vacation days


Aren't these unlimited vacation policies just another way for firms (or companies in general) to avoid having to pay out unused vacation days?

(Weeps slightly louder)



Ding ding ding

Plus no billable requirement means no minimum standard. There is absolutely an unspoken (or spoken) expectation. Without a billable requirement you have no idea what it takes to be in good standing or to get a bonus etc.

Unless your firm is purely contingency the partners make money off of your billable hours. If you don't bill enough, despite the lack of a set hours requirement, you will be up the creek without a paddle. Don't be fooled.

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Re: On Vacations

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 19, 2016 11:05 am

If you don't care about making partner and are billing about as much as everyone else in your group, you'll be able to take off all your vacation time.

The tricky part will be knowing in advance whether or not you'll have the work to make up for the month you're taking off per year, whether the partners would rather fire you and hire someone who'll only take off two weeks a year, etc. No matter what a firm tells you, many are not going to be okay with you actually using the bulk of your vacation time every year.

And even if you have no set billable requirement, there will absolutely be an unofficial billing requirement/there may actually be an official billing requirement, that no one wants to tell you about until they can get you in trouble for not making it. My firm "doesn't really have a billable hour requirement," and the person I interviewed with "was fine so long as I bill about 1850," and then at the end of my first year I found out the firm did in fact have a requirement, and it was well above 1900, and I didn't get a bonus that year.

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Re: On Vacations

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 20, 2016 2:28 am

What is normal, not eye-Brow raising, vacation taking? I plan on taking three weeks this year. Took like 10 days last year. Advice? Biglaw with unlimited vacation time.

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Re: On Vacations

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 20, 2016 7:45 am

If you are at a large firm, what the normal is varies by firm/location/group. In my group (at an NYC "unlimited vacation" firm), no one has taken more than 15 days in a year since I have been there. We did have an associate get married and take 3 weeks, but she killed it for the rest of the year and still billed about 2600. 2400 is about average.

A lot of it is just looking around at your peers, and seeing how/what they do. When I vacation I really like to unplug (crazy clients and some partners don't like this) so to me its not days of vacation, but the relaxation level of those days.

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Re: On Vacations

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 20, 2016 2:53 pm

As a first year at a top NYC firm I took every single vacation day offered to me and no one batted an eye. One or two associates apparently talked about it behind my back, but honestly, couldn't care less. I switched firms and will continue to take every vacation day given.

Vacations are the only times when you have a legitimate excuse (barring health reasons) to be offline and unreachable and I see no reason why you shouldn't use every day afforded to you if you work hard and are a good associate the rest of the year. Any firm that doesn't allow you to take vacation days is a shithole and you should get out as soon as possible.



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