The question really isn’t where defense lawyers take their summer vacation; it’s actually DO they take a summer vacation (or a vacation at any time of year, for that matter). Unfortunately, the answer is too often “no.” Most criminal defense attorneys are under an incredible amount of stress, and “vacation” has become a four-letter word in many law firms, both small and large.
Between incredibly heavy case loads, trying to get those take care of their clients, and often working 60 or 80 hours per week, many lawyers feel there’s just no possible way to take a vacation – or even a long weekend. The fact is, everyone, including defense lawyers, need to unplug occasionally. That means unplugging from laptops and cell phones, completely disconnecting from everything law at least for a while. It’s vital to a lawyer’s physical and mental health, and the health of a marriage or personal relationship.
Taking work with you on vacation? Not a good idea.
Picture yourself going on a week-long beach vacation in Hawaii – click to let us help! You take along your laptop, cell phone, maybe even a few case documents. Every so often you’re calling in to the office to check messages, or responding to emails. How is this a vacation, and more importantly, how is it going to go over with your family? Not very well. Can the law firm possibly stay in business while you’re away for a few days or a week? If you set it up properly, you can totally unplug and actually relax and enjoy time away.
Defense lawyers and the stress factor
Being a criminal defense lawyer can be extremely satisfying, but it can also steal your life. Happiness is essential; can you achieve that balance where you’re satisfied with your work AND your personal life, where these two areas of your life don’t overlap and become one?
Taking a vacation is important for your mental health. When defense attorneys (or anyone for that matter) fail to manage stress, it can result in depression, anxiety, even substance abuse or anger. Extreme stress will also take its toll on relationships eventually, so it’s important to realize as a defense lawyer that you’re not indispensable, and others are capable of handling things while you’re away.
A 1990 study conducted by John Hopkins University found that among more than 100 occupations, lawyers suffered the highest incidence of depression. This should be a strong signal to attorneys in all practices that seeking balance in life and taking much-deserved time off is critical to not only your physical and mental health, but the health of your law practice!
The benefits of taking vacation for defense attorneys
Taking a vacation is the best thing an attorney can do to rest and rejuvenate. Today, we live in a distracted culture – iPads, laptops, smart phones, and other devices make it seem almost impossible to get away. Not only will a real vacation boost your health and motivation, it will also increase your energy and productivity when you do return to the workplace. Taking time away helps avoid burnout, promotes career satisfaction, and perhaps most importantly helps keep personal relationships healthy and intact.
Where do defense lawyers take summer vacation? More important than the destination is spending time with family and participating in those hobbies/activities you enjoy most in life whether relaxing on the beach, playing golf, taking a cruise, or even reading a good book.
No defense lawyer is indispensable. It’s critical to take a real break from the daily grind and routine. In doing so, you’ll be more successful both in business and life in general, and you’ll enjoy a much greater feeling of fulfillment. When it comes to vacation, it’s not an option – it’s a must-do.