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Solo Lawyer Offers Some Advice About Taking Vacations

Labor Day weekend has just ended.  Is it too early to be talking about vacations?  No, and here's why.  Lawyers comprise a profession filled with a disproportionate share of workaholics.  Vacations may be infrequent and, often, we feel guilty for taking them.

Nathan Dosch, a solo attorney in Appleton, Wisconsin, has faced that guilt.  At The Dreams of a Solo, Dosch recently blogged about the internal conflict he faced when he decided to leave his solo law firm for 4 business days, just 6 weeks after he began his solo practice.  Although he was happy to be getting away, spending time with his family, and relaxing, he was somewhat worried because he knew he would not be making any money while he was gone.  Happily, he decided to take the vacation and enjoyed himself.

Dosch explains that taking the vacation taught him several lessons. 

  • He was able to pick up right where he had left his work before the brief holiday.  In other words, there was work waiting for him when he returned.
  • Focusing on the positive aspects of a vacation--the benefits of taking some time off--allowed him to get away, even when he still had some stress about leaving for a few days.
  • Communicating with clients, office mates, and contacts makes it easier to take a vacation, and they appreciate being informed of our plans.
  • The desire for flexibility that drives many lawyers into solo practice can be realized.

Apparently very happy that he took his vacation, Dosch sums up the situation fairly simply.  He left.  He enjoyed himself.  He returned.  After a successful break from work, Dosch offers this advice: "take a vacation and leave the office behind for a few days. It will still be there when you get back."  Following Nathan Dosch's example would likely reduce the stress that many lawyers experience and make their professional and personal lives more enjoyable.

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Thanks for mentioning this post. I'm happy to hear that the post effectively communicated the various obstacles that we, as attorneys, impose on ourselves when thinking about taking any time off, let alone a vacation. There will always be stress in running a law practice, that is inevitable. But I cannot accept the proposition that our entire existence must be mired in that same stress. As I mentioned in my post, get away, relax and recharge. It is amazing what a temporary escape from the giant weight on your shoulders will do for your overall mental wellbeing.

You can also relieve the stress of having to do daily mundane tasks when not on vacation. Have you heard of virtual assistants? We work with solo practices, small business owners, entrepreneurs, etc who outsource their administrative tasks to us (virtual assistants). As small business owners ourselves, we understand how time-consuming and stressful daily non-profitable tasks can be.

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