Q: What’s the best way to insure I can actually take time off this summer?
A: First, put the time you want off in your calendar now. That way, you won’t schedule something over it by mistake. Then, focus on back-up for your matters, and let your supervisor(s) and clients know when you plan to be out and how your work will be covered while away. If you have an active case in court, also mention it to the judge and opposing counsel at the next court date.
Still, we have all had work emergencies that cause us to postpone our vacation plans. If you’re planning to travel, take out trip insurance where applicable and know the cancellation policies of any hotels or ticketed events, just to cover your bases.
If need be, plan two short out-of-office trips instead of a longer one, so you maximize your chances of getting to take at least one. Or plan a staycation so, should you really have to work a day or two, you’ll still have some time off. You can always check for last minute deals, that way, when it’s closer and you know your schedule.
However you do it, try to prioritize the time you plan to take off. Passing up vacation time is very American, but is also a prescription for lawyer burnout and dissatisfaction. Taking time off is not only a necessity, it’s a disciplined skill you need to cultivate.