First Yr Associate in BigLaw: XMas Break?

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Lauren16

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First Yr Associate in BigLaw: XMas Break?

Postby Lauren16 » Mon Sep 11, 2017 7:41 am

Hi everyone,

What is the norm/best practice re Christmas vacation for first year associates in big law? I would like to go somewhere warm for 3-4 days. Since I won't be visiting family, I'd be happy to go over the Christmas holidays, over the New Year, inbetween, whenever works best for the office ... what is everyone else doing? And when are you talking to your firms about it? When is too soon / too late to ask? Thanks!

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Re: First Yr Associate in BigLaw: XMas Break?

Postby silenttimer » Mon Sep 11, 2017 9:17 am

Have you even started working at your firm yet?

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First Offense

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Re: First Yr Associate in BigLaw: XMas Break?

Postby First Offense » Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:01 am

Depends on the practice/partner/firm. I went on a vacation with no problem - office was empty anyway and all of my matters were on hold during the break.

I think TLS overstates the level of dedication needed at times for a first year on stuff like vacations/personal days/children at times, but then again I'm at a "lifestyle" firm so maybe my place is just chill. I'd ask around though - your assistants, a second/third year associate you know, anything like that to get a feel for the place. My guess is you're fine.

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Re: First Yr Associate in BigLaw: XMas Break?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:46 am

I didn't take vacation and kicked myself. I literally had nothing to work on (the thing about Christmas, at least in corporate is that deals are either on fire, in which case they don't have time for a clueless stub year associate to muck things up), or completely dead). I sat in the office until my secretary left, and called in sick for a couple of days because I felt too awkward about leaving in the middle of the day. (The office was also absolute dead. I think it was just the first years, a couple partners, and the secretaries who drew the short vacation straws).

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Re: First Yr Associate in BigLaw: XMas Break?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:54 am

I was worried about this a lot last year and was even explicitly told at some point by my peer associates that vacations were not taken. That being said, I would go ahead and take your 3-4 days without a second thought. IME, a lot of the anxiety around taking vacation is self-perpetuated (or peer-pressure). The partners I worked could've cared less if I was there or not. The office won't go up in smoke if you take time off nor will you lose any work (as a general matter) for taking a couple days off, particularly, during xmas season.

dedede

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Re: First Yr Associate in BigLaw: XMas Break?

Postby dedede » Mon Sep 11, 2017 12:22 pm

You should definitely take time off, but, as with any other vacation, let everyone know well in advance.

Lauren16

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Re: First Yr Associate in BigLaw: XMas Break?

Postby Lauren16 » Mon Sep 11, 2017 12:36 pm

Thanks for the responses everyone! That's pretty much was I was thinking / hoping for!

Re letting people know well in advance though: I get why that is helpful and just plain good manners but it's still super awkward to be like "You know how I only started working a few weeks ago - how about I go on vacation soon?" Is late Nov sufficient advance notice or cutting it close?

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Re: First Yr Associate in BigLaw: XMas Break?

Postby Sprout » Mon Sep 11, 2017 3:14 pm

Lauren16 wrote:Thanks for the responses everyone! That's pretty much was I was thinking / hoping for!

Re letting people know well in advance though: I get why that is helpful and just plain good manners but it's still super awkward to be like "You know how I only started working a few weeks ago - how about I go on vacation soon?" Is late Nov sufficient advance notice or cutting it close?

Also want to know this

I need to take time off to go to my brothers wedding in October... Already feel awkward about that. I literally just started last week. This sounds dumb but what's the best way to do this? Notify all the partners wrt the matters I'm working on? Just a couple + HR and secretaries? :/

edit: I dont work in big law but work at a mid NYC firm so apologies if this is misplaced

Madmen321

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Re: First Yr Associate in BigLaw: XMas Break?

Postby Madmen321 » Mon Sep 11, 2017 4:06 pm

Had the same question. I'm getting married Dec 29, and feel awkward about asking for that week off given that I am going to be starting in middle October. Its only really asking for 4 days since Monday is Christmas but I am still feeling awkward about it. As others said, all the guilty feeling are almost certainly self perpetuated.

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Re: First Yr Associate in BigLaw: XMas Break?

Postby SmokeytheBear » Mon Sep 11, 2017 4:10 pm

It's also partially going to depend on what group you are in at that time. If you're in a tax group, for example, the end of the year might be a bit more gnarly than if you are in a employment/labor group.

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Re: First Yr Associate in BigLaw: XMas Break?

Postby unlicensedpotato » Mon Sep 11, 2017 4:49 pm

SmokeytheBear wrote:It's also partially going to depend on what group you are in at that time. If you're in a tax group, for example, the end of the year might be a bit more gnarly than if you are in a employment/labor group.


Yeah tax will be the same as corporate was described above -- your deal's either on pause or on fire.

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Re: First Yr Associate in BigLaw: XMas Break?

Postby njdevils2626 » Mon Sep 11, 2017 5:05 pm

Madmen321 wrote:Had the same question. I'm getting married Dec 29, and feel awkward about asking for that week off given that I am going to be starting in middle October. Its only really asking for 4 days since Monday is Christmas but I am still feeling awkward about it. As others said, all the guilty feeling are almost certainly self perpetuated.


Your wedding is basically the one time in your career that you are allowed to take a lengthy vacation no questions asked and no concerns whatsoever. Don't feel weird about asking about this one, it's the one vacation you'll get where your whole firm will actively avoid emailing you

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Re: First Yr Associate in BigLaw: XMas Break?

Postby Yardbird » Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:16 am

depending on the firm and how many other people take off, you may not be able to take a “vacation” then. Usually it’s either Thanksgiving or Xmas but not both. Depending on the firm, you may still be able to work remotely or in another office

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Re: First Yr Associate in BigLaw: XMas Break?

Postby Desert Fox » Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:39 am

njdevils2626 wrote:
Madmen321 wrote:Had the same question. I'm getting married Dec 29, and feel awkward about asking for that week off given that I am going to be starting in middle October. Its only really asking for 4 days since Monday is Christmas but I am still feeling awkward about it. As others said, all the guilty feeling are almost certainly self perpetuated.


Your wedding is basically the one time in your career that you are allowed to take a lengthy vacation no questions asked and no concerns whatsoever. Don't feel weird about asking about this one, it's the one vacation you'll get where your whole firm will actively avoid emailing you


+ 1

I'd do your honeymoon now too. You won't get another chance. At least a week probably two.
Last edited by Desert Fox on Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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SmokeytheBear

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Re: First Yr Associate in BigLaw: XMas Break?

Postby SmokeytheBear » Tue Sep 12, 2017 1:27 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
njdevils2626 wrote:
Madmen321 wrote:Had the same question. I'm getting married Dec 29, and feel awkward about asking for that week off given that I am going to be starting in middle October. Its only really asking for 4 days since Monday is Christmas but I am still feeling awkward about it. As others said, all the guilty feeling are almost certainly self perpetuated.


Your wedding is basically the one time in your career that you are allowed to take a lengthy vacation no questions asked and no concerns whatsoever. Don't feel weird about asking about this one, it's the one vacation you'll get where your whole firm will actively avoid emailing you


+ 1

I'd do your honeymoon now too. You won't get another chance. At least a week probably two.


3 weeks to a month has been standard at both my firms for associates to do wedding + honeymoon.

I almost want to get married just to have four weeks off.

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Re: First Yr Associate in BigLaw: XMas Break?

Postby rpupkin » Tue Sep 12, 2017 1:42 pm

Lauren16 wrote:Thanks for the responses everyone! That's pretty much was I was thinking / hoping for!

Re letting people know well in advance though: I get why that is helpful and just plain good manners but it's still super awkward to be like "You know how I only started working a few weeks ago - how about I go on vacation soon?" Is late Nov sufficient advance notice or cutting it close?

I'd wait until late November. That will also give you time to get a sense for whether you can reasonably take vacation between Christmas and New Years. (As other have said, it will probably be fine, but there can be firm-specific, practice-group-specific, and matter-specific reasons why you might not be able to take that time off.)

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Re: First Yr Associate in BigLaw: XMas Break?

Postby rpupkin » Tue Sep 12, 2017 1:43 pm

Yardbird wrote:depending on the firm and how many other people take off, you may not be able to take a “vacation” then. Usually it’s either Thanksgiving or Xmas but not both. Depending on the firm, you may still be able to work remotely or in another office

The bolded is not generally true.

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SmokeytheBear

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Re: First Yr Associate in BigLaw: XMas Break?

Postby SmokeytheBear » Tue Sep 12, 2017 1:56 pm

rpupkin wrote:
Yardbird wrote:depending on the firm and how many other people take off, you may not be able to take a “vacation” then. Usually it’s either Thanksgiving or Xmas but not both. Depending on the firm, you may still be able to work remotely or in another office

The bolded is not generally true.


Agreed with rpupkin. I've taken thanksgiving off everywhere (even traveled overseas last year) and the x-mas holidays (as others have said, the office is basically a ghost town during the x-mas holidays). Obviously you have to be available, but you can do that in your zubas at your girlfriend's parents house while watching home alone 2 while sipping on coffee with a little bit of jameson mixed in.

Lauren16

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Re: First Yr Associate in BigLaw: XMas Break?

Postby Lauren16 » Tue Sep 12, 2017 2:59 pm

Thanks to everyone who responded. Really appreciate the advice!

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Re: First Yr Associate in BigLaw: XMas Break?

Postby Yardbird » Tue Sep 12, 2017 6:46 pm

SmokeytheBear wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
Yardbird wrote:depending on the firm and how many other people take off, you may not be able to take a “vacation” then. Usually it’s either Thanksgiving or Xmas but not both. Depending on the firm, you may still be able to work remotely or in another office

The bolded is not generally true.


Agreed with rpupkin. I've taken thanksgiving off everywhere (even traveled overseas last year) and the x-mas holidays (as others have said, the office is basically a ghost town during the x-mas holidays). Obviously you have to be available, but you can do that in your zubas at your girlfriend's parents house while watching home alone 2 while sipping on coffee with a little bit of jameson mixed in.
My firm does coverage on vacations that are a week or longer. We can’t get coverage for both holidays and if you don’t have coverage it’s not worth wasting vacation days, though you can probably still work remotely and drink your irish coffees.

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Re: First Yr Associate in BigLaw: XMas Break?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:20 pm

What about the week between Christmas And New Years? Are there people in the office that week?

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Re: First Yr Associate in BigLaw: XMas Break?

Postby SmokeytheBear » Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:23 pm

Anonymous User wrote:What about the week between Christmas And New Years? Are there people in the office that week?


not in LA



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