3 Steps to Planning a Stress-free Summer Vacation as a Lawyer

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There’s no denying it—lawyers work long hours in high-stress, competitive environments with demanding workloads. If you run your own law firm, it may be even more challenging for you to carve out time for a vacation. The truth is vacations can benefit lawyers in many ways, including improving overall mental health and stress levels. 

The big question is: How can lawyers like yourself plan a stress-free vacation while taking care of clients and making sure their law firms continue to run? The answer is simple—cloud-based legal practice management software like Clio can give you the best of both worlds. Unlike on-premise legal software that requires you to be in the office physically, cloud-based legal software gives you more flexibility and control over how to run your law firm. 

In this blog post, we’ll share what to consider before planning a vacation and three simple steps you can take to plan a stress-free vacation.

Why lawyers need to take a summer vacation

canoes on a lake surrounded by lush forested mountains

Thanks to long working hours, the highly competitive and high-stakes nature of legal work, and unhealthy coping mechanisms, lawyers have one of the most stressful professions. Combined with the heightened anxiety and burnout from the pandemic, it’s safe to say that lawyers need to take a vacation. To put things into perspective, take these sobering statistics from the recent ALM Mental Health and Substance Abuse Survey

  • 70% of legal professionals reported that the pandemic adversely affected their mental health
  • 64% of legal professionals reported having anxiety

In addition to reducing stress, improving mental health and well-being, and boosting mental ability and creativity, vacations help lawyers feel more calm, happy, and rejuvenated. Regular time off can also help lawyers become more productive, serve clients better, and avoid burnout

Considerations before planning a summer vacation

Take into account pandemic safety regulations

Since state and federal regulations evolve along with the pandemic, it’s wise to check current guidelines before going away. Keep in mind that the regulations at your destination may also be different from your home state. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends only traveling when all parties are fully vaccinated. If you intend to travel with children or people who aren’t fully vaccinated, opt for safer types of travel like short road trips with household members or fully vaccinated people. In this case, remember to continue observing safety precautions like mask-wearing and social distancing. 

Learn more about safer travel tips from the CDC.

Pick the right time

Work around caseloads and pick a time when you’re not required to be physically present in court appearances or attend client meetings. By taking advantage of a slower period and avoiding vacations during busy seasons, you can significantly reduce vacation-related stress. You could also plan a vacation around any legal conferences you may want to attend. Planning a trip after a virtual legal conference like the Clio Cloud Conference can still help you feel more refreshed and ready to tackle new challenges at your law firm.

Decide how connected you want to be while you’re away

If you are a law firm owner, completely disconnecting from the office is challenging. Ideally, you’ll want to dedicate some parts of your vacation where you’ll focus on relaxing and having fun. Cloud-based legal practice management software can help you stay connected when needed and when you want to. 

Make sure you have a succession plan

If you don’t already have a law firm succession plan, creating one before you go on a trip can give you peace of mind—it is also your ethical duty to be prepared. A succession plan also helps ensure your clients will be well cared for should something happen. 

Learn more about pre-vacation considerations for lawyers.

3 Steps to planning a summer vacation as a lawyer

woman working on laptop while sitting on a couch in a cozy cabin

Automate your law firm with legal practice management software

Use a cloud-based platform for all your practice management needs

Your firm will benefit from keeping matters and information organized, tracking time and expenses, creating calendar events, and approving invoices with legal practice management software. Using one unified platform to fulfill all your case management needs will save you time. A cloud-based platform like Clio can also remove much of the risk of error from using different tools for each case management function.  

You can get 3 months free when you sign up for an annual subscription of Clio.

Stay connected to your firm and get paid from anywhere, even when you’re away

Run your law firm from anywhere

Thanks to automation, you don’t have to put your firm on pause when you’re away. This means you can keep your practice running even when you’re lounging by a lake. Cloud-based legal software that lets you automate your client intake process and run your law firm remotely gives you the flexibility to stay connected anywhere with good internet access. For example, you can let new clients schedule initial calls automatically. Just remember to block off your calendar if you won’t be available. You can also access, share, and collaborate on essential case details from anywhere with Clio Manage. In addition, with Clio Payments, you can bill clients and get paid online. Relax knowing you can still get paid when you’re not physically in the office.  

You’re in control

Think about how connected you want to be during your vacation. The great thing about running your law firm on a cloud-based practice management system is that you can choose to pop in and out of work even while you’re away. As a result, you never have to worry about being completely disconnected from the office. 

Reduce stress before, during, and after your vacation

Let clients, colleagues, and staff know

Whether you usually work remotely or in the office, we recommend letting your legal staff, clients, and judges or courts know that you’re going on vacation ahead of time. Clear communication will set clear expectations on all sides: 

  • Let staff and clients know if you will be available at certain times of the day or if you only want to be contacted in case of an emergency
  • What work you’re delegating to your law firm’s administrator and other staff 
  • Arrange for another lawyer to cover you while you’re away, if needed 

Prep your inbox 

Spending a few minutes preparing your inbox can save you from having to go through a mountain of emails when you’re back. You can also avoid getting inundated by notifications constantly while you’re away. Set an out-of-office reply outlining how connected and contactable you intend to be. Also, use email filters to organize incoming messages so you can get through them faster. For example, you can separate emails from key clients, co-counsel, and staff members from newsletters. If you can, unsubscribe from unnecessary newsletters to keep your inbox as clean as possible.

With Clio’s add-in for Office 365, you can automatically forward emails to a Matter in Clio in MS Outlook on Windows or Mac.  

You’re ready to enjoy your summer vacation

You deserve a break—but you don’t have to go on a trip at the expense of keeping your firm running smoothly. With a cloud-based practice management system, you can stay connected to your firm even when you’re not in the office. Automating your law firm puts you in control of when and how you want to work. Although taking a two-week vacation may seem like a challenge, knowing you can still get paid and acquire new clients while you’re away can give you peace of mind. And if you prefer to work a little while you’re away, you can do that too. Enjoying a vacation isn’t impossible with the right preparation and trusted practice management software.

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