people at firms with "unlimited" vacation policy, how many vacation days do you take

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how many days of vacation taken per year at unlimited firm

0-5
41
32%
6-10
38
30%
11-15
16
13%
16-20
25
20%
21+
7
6%
 
Total votes: 127

jotarokujo

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people at firms with "unlimited" vacation policy, how many vacation days do you take

Post by jotarokujo » Mon May 03, 2021 6:42 pm

seeing as the market option other than unlimited is typically 20 days of vacation, the only way to be at an unlimited firm and not get scammed is to actually take 20 days. if you take less, you're getting scammed/getting undercomped in that those days you took less than 20 aren't getting paid out. curious how people have treated their vacations

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Re: people at firms with "unlimited" vacation policy, how many vacation days do you take

Post by Anonymous User » Mon May 03, 2021 7:17 pm

I'm at an unlimited firm. Let's exclude 2020 for comparison.

In 2019, I took a few random Fridays and maybe 8 days around the holidays that were not "vacation." The distinction at my firm is whether you send an out-of-office email around to your teams and arrange for coverage vs. whether you just try to dodge work and maybe informally let some partners/seniors know that you're trying to take time off. I did not take any real "vacation," but most people took 7-10 days and the same or slightly fewer amount of "fake" days that I did. Probably short of 20 on average.

This year, I plan to take even more Fridays and the same amount of days around the holidays, plus around 15 days of real vacation (two 1.5 week vacations). Two vacations is on the aggressive end but I'm planning to leave next year anyway and I think COVID catch-up is a plausible basis for doing so. I will exceed 20 days this year. I think most people are planning lengthy vacations, though they are underwater and so the random fake days off are rarer.

There is no question that "unlimited" PTO in biglaw is a scam for associates. I would much rather be in a position to cash my time out when I leave.

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Re: people at firms with "unlimited" vacation policy, how many vacation days do you take

Post by Barrred » Mon May 03, 2021 7:34 pm

Does not doing any work for a week or so over the Christmas/New Year period, but where you checked emails and would have had to do work if something came in, count as "taking vacation"?

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Re: people at firms with "unlimited" vacation policy, how many vacation days do you take

Post by Anonymous User » Mon May 03, 2021 8:24 pm

I work at one of these firms and it sucks. It's so unbelievably cynical as well to call it unlimited with a straight face. Everyone knows the deal. Anyways, most people don't really seem to take vacation unless they're about to quit.

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Prudent_Jurist

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Re: people at firms with "unlimited" vacation policy, how many vacation days do you take

Post by Prudent_Jurist » Mon May 03, 2021 8:38 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 8:24 pm
Anyways, most people don't really seem to take vacation unless they're about to quit.
At the water cooler...

Jerome: Did you see Martin's Instagram? Looks like he's having fun in Germany.

Thomas: Having fun? He must be quitting.

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jotarokujo

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Re: people at firms with "unlimited" vacation policy, how many vacation days do you take

Post by jotarokujo » Mon May 03, 2021 8:38 pm

wondering if you can go into the perspective of: not taking vacation is essentially having compensation withheld.

to the question about "fake" days, i guess whether those count depends on whether those "fake" days would use up a day of vacation at the firms where you get 20 days. i suspect days where you literally dont tell anyone you're taking off would just be WFH and not cut into those 20 days. if you tell a superior that you can't work that day, not jsut that you won't be in the office, then that would count.

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Re: people at firms with "unlimited" vacation policy, how many vacation days do you take

Post by Sackboy » Mon May 03, 2021 8:43 pm

I'm at an unlimited firm and take 20 days a year. You're a chump if you don't. All that matters is that you hit hours.

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Re: people at firms with "unlimited" vacation policy, how many vacation days do you take

Post by Anonymous User » Mon May 03, 2021 9:06 pm

jotarokujo wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 8:38 pm
to the question about "fake" days, i guess whether those count depends on whether those "fake" days would use up a day of vacation at the firms where you get 20 days. i suspect days where you literally dont tell anyone you're taking off would just be WFH and not cut into those 20 days. if you tell a superior that you can't work that day, not jsut that you won't be in the office, then that would count.
Not sure which firm this is (it's a well known biglaw shop, but I heard this secondhand from a colleague, so I forget) but they will credit you back your entire day off if you so much as bill 0.1 that day. It only counts as a vacation day if you claim it in advance as a PTO day and you also bill nothing.

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lolwutpar

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Re: people at firms with "unlimited" vacation policy, how many vacation days do you take

Post by lolwutpar » Mon May 03, 2021 9:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 9:06 pm
jotarokujo wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 8:38 pm
to the question about "fake" days, i guess whether those count depends on whether those "fake" days would use up a day of vacation at the firms where you get 20 days. i suspect days where you literally dont tell anyone you're taking off would just be WFH and not cut into those 20 days. if you tell a superior that you can't work that day, not jsut that you won't be in the office, then that would count.
Not sure which firm this is (it's a well known biglaw shop, but I heard this secondhand from a colleague, so I forget) but they will credit you back your entire day off if you so much as bill 0.1 that day. It only counts as a vacation day if you claim it in advance as a PTO day and you also bill nothing.
lol that means you'd never use PTO (which is good). 0.1 - "review correspondence"

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Re: people at firms with "unlimited" vacation policy, how many vacation days do you take

Post by Anonymous User » Mon May 03, 2021 9:12 pm

I've been at two unlimited vacation firms throughout the last five years and have taken one 17-day vacation once in that period. To be fair, the second was planned for fall 2020, but pandemic.
Sackboy wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 8:43 pm
I'm at an unlimited firm and take 20 days a year. You're a chump if you don't. All that matters is that you hit hours.
this is making some assumptions about goals / firm culture / etc.

jotarokujo

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Re: people at firms with "unlimited" vacation policy, how many vacation days do you take

Post by jotarokujo » Mon May 03, 2021 9:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 9:06 pm
jotarokujo wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 8:38 pm
to the question about "fake" days, i guess whether those count depends on whether those "fake" days would use up a day of vacation at the firms where you get 20 days. i suspect days where you literally dont tell anyone you're taking off would just be WFH and not cut into those 20 days. if you tell a superior that you can't work that day, not jsut that you won't be in the office, then that would count.
Not sure which firm this is (it's a well known biglaw shop, but I heard this secondhand from a colleague, so I forget) but they will credit you back your entire day off if you so much as bill 0.1 that day. It only counts as a vacation day if you claim it in advance as a PTO day and you also bill nothing.
agreed, so for purposes of this poll, a day is a day where you told a supervisor you werent working and you dont bill

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Re: people at firms with "unlimited" vacation policy, how many vacation days do you take

Post by Anonymous User » Mon May 03, 2021 10:47 pm

I'm at an unlimited vacation firm and I don't even get any weekends off, let alone get to use my fake vacation allocation.

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Re: people at firms with "unlimited" vacation policy, how many vacation days do you take

Post by Anonymous User » Mon May 03, 2021 11:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 10:47 pm
I'm at an unlimited vacation firm and I don't even get any weekends off, let alone get to use my fake vacation allocation.
Not getting weekends off is just called being a lawyer, that's not about vacation policies.

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lolwutpar

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Re: people at firms with "unlimited" vacation policy, how many vacation days do you take

Post by lolwutpar » Mon May 03, 2021 11:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 11:16 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 10:47 pm
I'm at an unlimited vacation firm and I don't even get any weekends off, let alone get to use my fake vacation allocation.
Not getting weekends off is just called being a lawyer, that's not about vacation policies.
I don't work a lot of weekends, whatchu talkin' about Willis?

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Re: people at firms with "unlimited" vacation policy, how many vacation days do you take

Post by Anonymous User » Tue May 04, 2021 1:45 am

Midlaw Am100 in secondary market. In 2019 I took a “trip” each month. Two of those were 5 days or longer and OOO up with no expectation of responding. I also exceeded hours by a healthyy margin and have rep for carrying my weight and others’. Have a colleague who is known to take lots of time off, rep for not being able to handle deal work nor understands how to work on an urgent matter, known to never work late and so on, but barely hits hours and maxes out the pro Bono hours. Yet said colleague is still employed and thanks to lockstep we make the same salary. I feel dumb.

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Re: people at firms with "unlimited" vacation policy, how many vacation days do you take

Post by Anonymous User » Tue May 04, 2021 9:53 am

lolwutpar wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 11:47 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 11:16 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 10:47 pm
I'm at an unlimited vacation firm and I don't even get any weekends off, let alone get to use my fake vacation allocation.
Not getting weekends off is just called being a lawyer, that's not about vacation policies.
I don't work a lot of weekends, whatchu talkin' about Willis?
If OP literrally means they work a full day every Saturday and Sunday, then yes that is abnormal and unsustainable. But I don't know anyone (at least in litigation) that can take off every weekend and not check their phone/email at least a couple of times a day, and respond to things that need to be ready Monday. Weekend work might be only an hour or so most weekends, but that's still (at least in my book) not getting the weekend off.

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Re: people at firms with "unlimited" vacation policy, how many vacation days do you take

Post by Anonymous User » Tue May 04, 2021 11:36 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue May 04, 2021 9:53 am
lolwutpar wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 11:47 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 11:16 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 10:47 pm
I'm at an unlimited vacation firm and I don't even get any weekends off, let alone get to use my fake vacation allocation.
Not getting weekends off is just called being a lawyer, that's not about vacation policies.
I don't work a lot of weekends, whatchu talkin' about Willis?
If OP literrally means they work a full day every Saturday and Sunday, then yes that is abnormal and unsustainable. But I don't know anyone (at least in litigation) that can take off every weekend and not check their phone/email at least a couple of times a day, and respond to things that need to be ready Monday. Weekend work might be only an hour or so most weekends, but that's still (at least in my book) not getting the weekend off.
OP of this minithread. I usually bill somewhere between 4 and 12 hours every single weekend. Definitely not sustainable. General corporate (I do a little bit of everything transactional). Very lean firm, close to 1:1 leverage.

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Excellent117

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Re: people at firms with "unlimited" vacation policy, how many vacation days do you take

Post by Excellent117 » Tue May 04, 2021 1:29 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 9:12 pm
I've been at two unlimited vacation firms throughout the last five years and have taken one 17-day vacation once in that period. To be fair, the second was planned for fall 2020, but pandemic.
Sackboy wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 8:43 pm
I'm at an unlimited firm and take 20 days a year. You're a chump if you don't. All that matters is that you hit hours.
this is making some assumptions about goals / firm culture / etc.
The entirety of your vacation during the last five years has been limited to a single, 17-day period away? Why?

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Re: people at firms with "unlimited" vacation policy, how many vacation days do you take

Post by Anonymous User » Tue May 04, 2021 4:02 pm

I try to take one 1-2 week vacation a year, plus maybe a 3-4 day weekend every other month or so, with the expectation that I will probably work about an hour a day while I am out of the office and will check emails at least every couple of hours. I also try to take the W-F of Thanksgiving off and work only as absolutely needed between 12/23 and whatever the first business day after January 1 is. Junior partner at a V100 - I took (slightly) less vacation when I was a junior associate, but this is pretty consistent with what I've done every year since I was a 4th year or so.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Tue May 04, 2021 4:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: people at firms with "unlimited" vacation policy, how many vacation days do you take

Post by Anonymous User » Tue May 04, 2021 4:02 pm

(Double post, please delete.)

Sackboy

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Re: people at firms with "unlimited" vacation policy, how many vacation days do you take

Post by Sackboy » Wed May 05, 2021 11:30 am

Ya'll getting whipped. 60% of the answers should not be in the 0-10 day range. That's insane.

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Re: people at firms with "unlimited" vacation policy, how many vacation days do you take

Post by Anonymous User » Wed May 05, 2021 3:20 pm

Now I really want to show this poll's result to Europeans and see their reaction

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