When solo attorneys take vacation time, it’s a clear indicator that they’ve been preparing for it. Maybe you’re a solo attorney who’s new to the industry, or perhaps it’s your first time working outside of a larger law firm. Maybe you’ve been in the business for a while, but can’t remember the last vacation you took.
In any case, you’ve probably realized by now that solo attorneys take vacation time only after careful planning – never spontaneously (unless something very serious has happened).
Careful planning doesn’t have to translate to months of preparations and a mound of additional work before you leave. Instead, start planning just one month in advance to ensure your solo practice keeps running smoothly in your absence without giving yourself additional work or losing clients in the process. We’ll show you how in this post.
Take a Vacation, Solo Attorneys – 4 Preparations That Make It Possible
It’s definitely possible to take a vacation as a solo attorney. It just requires a little thoughtful preparation ahead of time! With the following 4 preparations in place, you’ll ensure there are no last-minute snags or issues that will prevent you from fully enjoying your well-deserved time away from the office. Read these 4 preparations and get ready to “turn off your mind, relax, and float downstream”…or however you’ll be spending your vacation!
Prep 1: Tell everyone involved 1 month ahead of time
Who’s going to be affected by your absence – clients, vendors, employees, services you use? Tell those people at least one month in advance about your plans to take a vacation. You can begin prepping any employees you have for what tasks will need to be handled in your absence right away to ensure they’ll be ready when it’s time for you to leave.
The way you inform others about your upcoming time off is very important. Don’t be too apologetic or too blasé about it. You want to appear confident and optimistic about your decision to help your clients feel confident that everything will be handled properly in your absence and that you won’t skip anything important. Try drafting an email to send out with an invitation to call you if a client has additional questions.
If you’re in the middle of working on something important for a client, make plans to either finish it up before you leave or after you return. The key here is managing expectations, so don’t fear that your planning will upset someone – instead, be honest and upfront about your time away and let clients know if certain tasks won’t be handled until you’re back in the office. It’s better than trying to “hide” that you’re going on vacation and upsetting clients along the way.
Prep 2: Make a deal with another solo attorney
We’ve heard it worded as an informal “vacation club,” and that’s the perfect way to think about it. Find another local solo attorney and make a deal to cover each other while on vacation. While most malpractice insurance will require you to make arrangements with a backup attorney, many consider it a formality and don’t even notify the other attorney that they’ve put them down as a backup.
Ask if the attorney would be interested in covering your firm while you’re away on vacation with the understanding that you’ll be ready to do the same when they would like to step away and take some time off. What’s not to like? Other solo attorneys are just as ready to get away and take a vacation as you are, and by forging a mutually beneficial deal like this, both parties win.
Just make sure you draft up a contract with the agreement of what tasks and requests the attorney should handle in your absence, and make sure to leave any passwords or information they will need to successfully be your backup.
Prep 3: Start using a legal answering service
About a month before you’re planning to take a vacation, it’s wise to go ahead and start using a legal answering service. If you choose a general answering service, you may be disappointed to find that the agents don’t know what your clients are talking about and don’t have a good understanding of legal terminology. Choose a specialty legal answering service instead to ensure your clients will be dealt with professionally and knowledgeably in your absence.
If it’s helpful to you, you can sign up for a free 30 day trial of our specialty legal answering service right now. It includes 1,000 minutes, message delivery via email or text message, appointment booking, and customized call handling. We work with many solo attorneys that consider our answering service a large part of the reason they’re able to step away from the office long enough to take and enjoy a vacation. Don’t worry about missed calls from clients or leads while you’re away – we’ll handle it and update you along the way or once you get back (your choice).
Prep 4: Rely on the cloud
If you can’t completely unplug during your vacation, you’ll need to rely on the cloud to access your work and data. If you haven’t been so far, switch to cloud software to ensure you can access your information anywhere you have internet access (which can pose a problem if you’re planning on lying on the beaches of a remote island for the duration of your vacation).
Most law practice management software, accounting software, and business software are accessible through the cloud, so if you haven’t been relying on the cloud yet, now is the time to do it. But don’t get too involved in work while you’re away – this is a vacation, after all!
Ready to start prepping for your vacation time? Solo attorneys take vacation time more often when they’re working with a quality legal answering service. Start a free 30 day trial of our legal answering service by clicking the button below. There’s no obligation to sign up if you’re not fully satisfied with the service, and it will enable you to get away guilt-free knowing that your calls and clients are in good hands while you’re away. Get started today!