Firm holidays

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Anonymous User
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Firm holidays

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 26, 2018 4:23 am

I am looking for any info on the norms for holidays at biglaw, midlaw, and boutique firms. I am a law student and I'm probably going to end up in a market a few states away from my family, but holidays have always been a big deal for my family and I'd like to travel back when I can. I'm also just curious.

I do realize that firms probably don't have any days they're officially shut down or anything and that you still have to meet your billables and might have to log in from home/your family's home. I'm just asking which days will most attorneys not be in the office unless there's an emergency.

Of federal holidays, I'd imagine days off might be Jan. 1, July 4, and maybe Labor and Memorial? Veterans?

How do Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter work? These are all big holidays in my family, but I know plenty attorneys don't celebrate them. For those who do, what are the norms? Thanksgiving and Black Friday? What about taking the Wednesday before to travel home? Christmas Eve and Christmas Day? What about the time between Christmas and New Year's? Do people go back on the 26th, or maybe the 27th or 28th? And Easter is always on a Sunday. Good Friday (probably not)? Easter Monday - maybe? I would prefer not to have to head to the airport soon after Easter dinner, but I understand it might be unavoidable.

I know that I will have to make sacrifices and I hope that this doesn't sound entitled - or too weird. I've only worked retail and food service jobs and am not sure of the norms for this in white collar professions generally, much less law, much less biglaw. I know these things may vary, but any anecdotes would be appreciated!

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rowingmyboat

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Re: Firm holidays

Postby rowingmyboat » Mon Feb 26, 2018 10:26 am

Law firms might actually be easier for these sorts of things than retail/food service where working holidays is often mandatory. Technically, my firm gives us New Years Day, MLK Day, Presidents Day, Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Black Friday, and Christmas Day. That being said, some of these holidays I'm still expected to work, even if just from home (President's Day/Labor Day/Memorial Day). As to your specific question, most people travel Wednesday evening and don't take off the following Monday for Thanksgiving, but some arrange to take that whole week off and a good portion do miss Monday. For Christmas, my office is pretty empty the entire month of December, so I work from home a lot then, but if there is a major project going on I plan to be in. There would be no issue with me being OOO Dec 23-26 though. Easter/Good Friday is not observed, so in your case you should arrange for that Friday and Monday off in advance.


As for the norms, you can generally take off what days you want for holidays so long as (1) you still hit your billables; (2) you aren't taking too many days off if face time is important in your group; (3) you are available to work when OOO; and (4) you set expectations and give notice in advance. Ask a junior associate when you start what the expectations are too, and see if your plan to take off would fit the norm.

ruski

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Re: Firm holidays

Postby ruski » Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:46 am

Anonymous User wrote:I am looking for any info on the norms for holidays at biglaw, midlaw, and boutique firms. I am a law student and I'm probably going to end up in a market a few states away from my family, but holidays have always been a big deal for my family and I'd like to travel back when I can. I'm also just curious.

I do realize that firms probably don't have any days they're officially shut down or anything and that you still have to meet your billables and might have to log in from home/your family's home. I'm just asking which days will most attorneys not be in the office unless there's an emergency.

Of federal holidays, I'd imagine days off might be Jan. 1, July 4, and maybe Labor and Memorial? Veterans?

How do Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter work? These are all big holidays in my family, but I know plenty attorneys don't celebrate them. For those who do, what are the norms? Thanksgiving and Black Friday? What about taking the Wednesday before to travel home? Christmas Eve and Christmas Day? What about the time between Christmas and New Year's? Do people go back on the 26th, or maybe the 27th or 28th? And Easter is always on a Sunday. Good Friday (probably not)? Easter Monday - maybe? I would prefer not to have to head to the airport soon after Easter dinner, but I understand it might be unavoidable.

I know that I will have to make sacrifices and I hope that this doesn't sound entitled - or too weird. I've only worked retail and food service jobs and am not sure of the norms for this in white collar professions generally, much less law, much less biglaw. I know these things may vary, but any anecdotes would be appreciated!


most law firms close when the stock market is closed, with a couple exceptions. few law firms close officially for black Friday, but there are a few who do. using vacation both at thanksgiving and xmas will be difficult since they are pretty close together. easter may also be hard if that is when spring break is in your area (everyone will want off to travel with their kids). also taking these days off every year may be difficult depending on your group and who else is out. you will have holidays ruined as biglaw associate. not every single one, but count on at least a couple getting ruined over a 3-4 year period. you may have to log on remotely, or completely cancel your vacation - depends entirely on the deal and your partner.

if this is something very important to you, you should live close to your parents. it will be much easier to work remotely or at least join them for the big meal and then head back to the office

Anonymous User
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Re: Firm holidays

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 26, 2018 12:26 pm

Thanks for the responses. Working close to home would be ideal, but it's one of the least populous states and biglaw or even midlaw basically doesn't exist there. I have applied to the few middishlaw firms but no dice.

Anonymous User
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Re: Firm holidays

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:18 pm

C/O 2013 litigation associate in a major market. I have had pretty good luck with not having holidays blown up, and being a litigator is generally easier because the courts are closed and your opposing counsel will also probably not want to spend their holidays working. I can pretty reliably assume I don't need to be in the office on the following days:

New Years' Day
July 4
Thanksgiving
Black Friday
Xmas Eve
Xmas Day
New Years' Eve

More often than not I have not had to do much work on the following days: MLK; Presidents Day; Memorial Day; July 3; Labor Day; the day before Thanksgiving; the day after Christmas. Depending on your firm many people may take the High Holy Days off too.

Anonymous User
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Re: Firm holidays

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 09, 2018 1:57 am

This varies wildly by firm ime. At my midlaw secondary, it's pretty generous. Memorial, Labor, Veterans, MLK, 4th, NYE and Jan 1, Wednesday-Friday of Thanksgiving week, Easter Monday, etc.

lawschoolftw

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Re: Firm holidays

Postby lawschoolftw » Sun Apr 01, 2018 8:27 pm

Don’t sweat this. I’m in almost an identical position, living and working about five hours from my family. Do good work and meet your hours and no one will care that you take Friday off after thanksgiving to see your family. One of the (only) perks about private practice is that you have some freedom over your work schedule, although this is a double edged sword and will also mean working at days and times you have no interest in working. Good luck.



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