From the President, 0220 WYBJ, Vol. 43 No. 1. 8

AuthorKelly M. Neville, Brown & Hiser, LLC Laramie, Wyoming.
PositionVol. 43 1 Pg. 8

From the President

Vol. 43 No. 1 Pg. 8

Wyoming Bar Journal

February, 2020

Avoid Burnout: Take a Vacation!

Kelly M. Neville, Brown & Hiser, LLC Laramie, Wyoming.

In June 2019, the Wyoming State Bar Board of Officers & Commissioners and staff met for two days to craft a strategic plan to take the Bar through the next couple of years. One of the three prongs of the adopted strategic plan was increased support of small firm and solo practitioners. As a small firm practitioner for over 15 years, I can appreciate the many unique challenges faced by our small and solo firms. One such challenge that is not often discussed is the opportunity to take a vacation.

All attorneys need opportunities to disconnect from the office and travel, visit family, attend your children's extracurricular activities, or just relax. This can be a challenge for small firm and solo practitioners who often feel chained to the desk for lack of someone to handle their clients and caseload during an absence. Even with careful scheduling and communication with clients, the courts, and opposing counsel, client needs and emergencies are bound to arise during an absence. Vacations and time off from the office also invite a double whammy for a small firm/solo-the expense of the trip plus the missed billable hours.

Yet time off is important to recharge our batteries and gain focus. Attorneys who vacation increase productivity, prevent burnout, and benefit from valuable time with family. Practicing law can be stressful, and stress is cumulative. As Richardson Lynn pointed out in a recent article in the Nebraska Lawyer, "The stress of 10-hour days in the office, six or seven days a week, year after year, when you rarely take true vacations, untethered to the office, can be fatal." Here are a few thoughts that might help small firm/solos enjoy some time away while feeling confident in their ability to serve their clients and continue their practice.

Communicate your absence in advance to clients who are likely to have issues arise during your absence. Clients and opposing counsel are generally respectful of your personal time, especially if they are given a specific time you will address their issues upon your return.

Occasionally, I have been able to take a vacation and completely disconnect from my practice for a period of days. However, many vacations require some client maintenance periodically while I am away...

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