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Posts published in “Law Firm Changes”

Take a Break

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Did you know...?
• Employers in the United States are not obligated to offer any paid vacation
• Vacation is mandated by law in many other parts of the world
• Poll: Only 57% of U.S. workers use up all of the vacation days they're entitled to
Credit: CNN Online.

Study after study shows the mental and physical health benefits of taking time off. It seems like common sense to me: if you’re tired and stressed, you’re more likely to make mistakes. On the one hand, a vacation is a chance to recharge your batteries and come back relaxed and with a fresh perspective on your job. On the other hand, you could come back to chaos: piles of unanswered emails and phone messages; crises un-handled, and even clients lost.

If you’re a sole practitioner, the idea of taking any time off probably frightens you. Here’s the perspective of one solo who learned that you can take vacation time, including tips on what you should do before you go. However, the author writes about the help his staff provides. What if you’re it – the only person in the office? Can you do it? Should you do it? Yes and yes. The secret is not only planning, it’s learning to let go and recognizing that you can’t control everything. You can manage it as professionally as possible, but eventually, you’re going to conk out. Working at the Bar, you notice the stories of lawyers passing away suddenly. You know the lawyers who suffered serious health set-backs. Life has a way of teaching us that we aren’t in control. Figuring out a way to take vacations helps us also figure out how to manage our practices better; plus, we learn something about planning for the future and when we're no longer around.

It’s a cliché, but on your deathbed, are you going to think that you should have worked more?

How Good Lawyers Survive

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One of my favorite funny movie lines of all time comes from 1956's "Invasion of the Body Snatchers". Our hero is running for his life. His voice-over narration is (deadpan): "I had known fear before, but never fear like that." The understatement cracks me up every time.

I was somehow reminded of this line when reading the introduction of a new book dealing with bad times in law practices.  Lawyers have seen tough times before, but never quite this tough.  How Good Lawyers Survive Bad Times by Sharon Nelson, Jim Calloway and Ross Kodner has just been released by ABA books. Need a pep talk with a heaping helping of practical advice? This book is a 212-page cookbook for making lemonade out of lemons, figuratively speaking. As anyone who has seen these well-known authors and speakers would expect, the advice is delivered with compassion, common sense and a dose of humor. Most of the advice is geared to those in small firms, those recently laid off, and those struggling to find jobs. There are tips on getting clients to pay, finding a new job on the Internet, alternative billing , and resume writing. The last section of the book is devoted solely to using technology to practice better, cheaper and faster than before.  For lawyers experiencing the worst of what the economy has dealt, this book is a lifeline. Purchase your own copy, or check it out from the Bar lending library. Good-Lawyers