Partners/senior lawyers of ROF - Holidays
Donny Darko's … 27 Mar 24 08:50
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Just a quick straw poll. Does your firm make any effort at all to provide actual cover (i.e. not just your team/direct reports) when you go on holidays or are 'holidays' basically you doing your job from another location with sh1tter wifi?

Where I am now, I am lucky that I work in tandem with one other senior guy and we more or less entirely cover one another. The only caveat being that I’m not (for the time being) a partner here and I suppose there is a certain level of partner-level stuff that you can’t easily hand off, although a lot of stuff of that ilk can fairly easily be left for a week I guess.

When I was a partner elsewhere, I had no cover ay all. That period of my career was generally no fun at all tbh, I’m much happier being a senior non partner here than I was being a partner there.

As above, the issue of “cover” is v different in house. In PP as a partner it was basically my problem unless I went to others and actively asked favours (which tbf were always met by other partners) . In house there is a big culture shift, it’s basically their problem unless I make it mine by not doing holiday notes. 

I'm not a partner and work at somewhere with clients who have (I'm guessing) somewhat lesser expectations about my availability than Donny's. 

Current boss is quite good about making sure stuff is handed over so you actually get a holiday but previously it was very much a case of trying to persuade people to look after stuff for you (or accepting it could wait till you got back). 

I miss the early years of my career with no phone e-mails or remote access where, once you were physically out of the office, it was someone else's problem until you got back. 

"When I was a partner elsewhere, I had no cover ay all. That period of my career was generally no fun at all tbh, I’m much happier being a senior non partner here than I was being a partner there".

So why do you hint at becoming a partner again?    Not going to make same mistake again surely?

I work with decent educated colleagues who are quite capable of looking after my work while I'm away and I return the favour when they are away.  Have an ace paralegal who checks my e-mails so if someone hasn't copied in the relevant person who's looking after something she'll forward on the e-mails.  I take my work phone on holiday in case there's something I really need to look at but it generally stays in my suitcase turned off.  I cut my teeth in the days when people who were on holiday were genuinely uncontactable and you just had to use your common sense to manage things for them.

The latter. For most projects it simply is not feasible to bring someone else completely up to speed so they can cover seamlessly, and besides we're not all fungible--there's some expertise that simply just isn't there among other team members. (Not really a brag, because the others have expertise that I lack so I won't be adequate cover for them.)

The OOO does get me out of BD type queries and the random, out-of-nowhere one-off urgent questions from client--they see my OOO and email someone else.

And this is why super-early retirement is so tempting. With no kids to support, I can afford to be poor.

I am thinking of trying to put the out of office on for a week and being genuinely uncontactable. Partly as I am considering doing something else and hard to get a clear head if I continue working through. 

Does anyone actually have proper cover? I’ve never seen it in house or in PP. it’s just make do and mend which is why it always makes sense to go on holiday in the Feb or May school holidays or the end of August because that’s when everyone else is away. 

Grey me and my colleagues genuinely advance each other's work when people are away.  It's one of the reasons I've stayed at the firm so long.  I recently ended up doing a six week stint in place of the head of the team as she had an accident on holiday and wasn't initially able to come back to work.

Yeah not being funny but presumably you just apply for a couple of extra searches at the same time as doing your own then take even longer than normal to actually read the things as they come in?

not quite the question the OP was asking but I knew Esther Dingley (the lady who sadly died hiking in Pyrenees in late 2020) and her partner. They didn't have top dolla corporate drone jobs but were both highly educated people doing professional jobs who decided to check out of "real life" (ie the treadmill of work projects and general "adult" stuff) and lived what seemed 6 very happy years in a motorhome going round Europe until she passed away, earning money from odd jobs on the road etc..

Made easier by the fact they had no kids and were happy living life on a bit of a shoestring. Hope he is doing OK now. 

Not really Grey as I operate at a slightly higher level than the bulk conveyancers and can happily get you to exchange in a week for the right fee.  Will do most things but don't generally like signing off someone else's report just in case there's something they know but haven't mentioned that hasn't been covered.

We design teams to be resilient to holidays.  There should always be someone who can step in on most stuff - either at partner level or from the level below.  This doesn't always work, of course, but it mostly does.

I'm also wondering if Donny gets hit harder because expat operations tend to be leaner, so it's harder to find someone else to cover with the right skills set?

I can't believe Catty doesn't do 8 page detailed handover notes like he was taught to.  He'll be telling us he no longer dictates telephone attendance notes for every call next...

I was a partner in a U.S. firm (not in London)

The last 10 years I didn’t even bother to turn on the out of the office since I was reading emails anyway and it is a bit silly to reply shortly after the auto response has gone out 

Never handed stuff over to another partner (and no one ever asked me to babysit their stuff), but people would be mindful and helpful to the extent possible 

I never felt that holidays were ruined because of work, but they are way better these days it has to be said

Bottom line — you can’t earn 20x what normal people earn (and enjoy the benefit of the pyramid structure) and also expect that it comes at no cost

Law firm partners are not 20x more talented or important than a normal worker so something has to give, right? 

“Bottom line — you can’t earn 20x what normal people earn (and enjoy the benefit of the pyramid structure) and also expect that it comes at no cost”

No you can I think, just not in law

They're 20x more stressed. If you can't delegate everything and everything you'll end up being led out the door pale and shaking/ slumped at your desk. Then they'll have to do it for you anyway. 

Depends on the team but generally the expectation from many newer (ex-US white shoe) partners seems to be you will work on holiday and I have had some trips entirely wrecked by work demands. It’s the thing that has been closest to making me quit and if it happens again this summer I probably will. 

many newer (ex-US white shoe) partners 

lol.  I don't suppose they go into much detail about why Kirkland/Latham binned them?  

(yeah yeah I know not truly white shoe but...) 

When I was in PP - no

Basically I just logged on twice a day and created a call window for my team to call me within.  There was no point even putting out of office on.  Even in honeymoon.  It was big cash so I accepted the trade off. I wouldn’t now though

I did a sabbatical where I logged off for 4 months - and deleted all emails when I returned.  That was ace.  The fellow partners got the billings - so they were happy enough- but by then I have less of a sh1t. 

having worked a 7 hour day on monday i tried a new technique last night

"Clubbers we need 30 minutes of your time, can you make a call"

"yes of course. i can make 0745 london time tomorrow"

"it can wait"

 

It would have been a privilege to have been able to take holiday without the partners intentionally fvcking something up while trying to steal the client, ably assisted by their willing accomplice associates.

IH.  I'll keep an eye on the emails in case some disaster has befallen the company or to spin plates/knock simple stuff off, but anything taxing can generally wait.

I don't mind doing bits of work on holiday as I then have a clean conscience if I pull a short day to watch some school class assembly crap or do some minor household errand.  Also it's nice coming back to a clean(ish) inbox.  It's not like I'm ever having to do more than an odd hour here or there.

Also it's nice coming back to a clean(ish) inbox.

Yes, this too. Logging on for the first time after a week and seeing the thousands of unread email (even if most can be ignored and/or are stale by then) would create more stress than the benefit of "turning off" for that week.

It’s fine for beach holidays in a hotel, you just nip up from the pool to do your call and email from the sun lounger. Problem is as the kids get older they want to do more activity type stuff and things like road trips or hiking or whatever are just not really possible.

First world problems obviously! 

people who aspire for either their inbox or their to do list ever to be clear

you are chasing the fooking dragon m88s

most of the shite on my to do list never gets done and nobody cares 

clean documents 

CPs complete

opinion due diligence done properly

that’s it

the rest - who gives a fck

It’s got nothing to do with importance it’s being stuffed up the hoop by your “colleagues “ while you enjoy your statutory entitlements ffs. Bunch of c unts. May they all rot on retreat. 

state on this thread ffs

 

we dont live to work

 

why the fook are we all so tuned in to having to work 24-7 (me included)

 

it just isnt right

 

clients are aunts - fook em

Don't understand the OP. Why would your firm provide cover? And who? A person who knows nothing about your cases?

One of your jobs as a partner is to build and train a team who can do the job in your absence. If you aren't doing that then you won't enjoy your holidays much.

Agree that keeping an eye on inbox isn’t ‘working’ that’s just being someone rubbing a practice rather than an employee. The next stage is calls - I wouldn’t join a weekly call but would join anything overly complex so that my associate isn’t left carrying the can if it goes wrong. Then comes docs - I don’t review docs on holiday; either they are simple enough to send out or they go to another partner or counsel for review. 
But there are loads of normal people on much less money that do all of this - I think the days of strict 9-5 and no emails out of hours  are long gone, let alone for senior lawyers pulling in the 20x someone referred to above.

There are very few things that any of us do that won't survive if they go a bit slowly for a week.  I learned in a firm where I was the only property person that as long as you flag going away well in advance most clients don't have a problem with nothing happening for a few days.  Admittedly some things will have rigid legal deadlines but even then they can be dealt with.

It’s nothing to do with others but yourself. You have got to the age where you want a proper holiday and the kids want more adventurous trips. An office can be run from a 5 star hotel but probably not on the Inca trail.  I would try and make arrangements so that can be possible otherwise you will have constant niggling, stress. 

I’ve got slightly better at zoning out for holidays. My other half is bad at it though which is annoying. It’s a holiday vibe killer when someone is doing work 

fair point re having no holidays if earning big money, but snag is everyone works on holiday, even people on poor money.  it's just expected everywhere nowadays