The Atlanta Lawyer June/July 2019 - Page 31

WELLNESS it is important for our overall health and long-term success—personally and professionally—to unplug and step away. We need to educate our clients that the issue is not as immediate as they might perceive or that we can provide trusted methods to have some matters handled for Clients were briefed on his upcoming travel and provided with the same time line, deadline, and case status facts as existed in the office. So while it can be tempting to allow today’s technology to let us continue to work (and bill) from the beach, the mountains, or 37,000 feet in the air, doing so cheats On a similar-level, we need to arrange our practice to provide for coverage when it’s time to tend to our own well-being. us by those we trust. For those who just can’t walk away entirely, it’s important to create boundaries to limit the intrusion of this demanding profession on our own lives. N ot long ago I read about an initiative within the Bar to require solo practitioners to have an established, disclosed successor plan in place. Such a plan would provide for clients’ needs in the event of an unforeseen, sudden event. On a similar level, we need to arrange our practice to provide for coverage when it’s time to tend to our own well-being. When one of my colleagues recently traveled abroad, each case had a designated go- to attorney who knew where the file was located , which paralegal was familiar with the administrative status of the case, and what issues and deadlines were approaching. the lawyer of the time he or she earned and impacts the lawyers’ health, family, and focus. If there is no backup at the office who can handle what may arise, perhaps a different structure or set of trusted reciprocal professional relationships might be in order. Sometimes there is more than one avenue of “coverage.” As an associate in my early days of family law, my cell phone rang as I parked the car at my firm’s office, and one of the partners’ paralegal asked if I was on-site and dressed for court. I had to rush to court to handle a minor matter in his absence. “What if I hadn’t been available?” I later asked, and I was told that a respected lawyer from another firm had agreed to be available. minutes each day to handle any work related matters that might arise. It’s also important to have a detailed Out of Office email or updated voice mail greeting giving notice of your circumstances and limited availability. Even if an event is unplanned, the few minutes it takes to provide an email response explaining your unavailability can provide an opportunity for the person on the other side of the email to understand that yes, the matter will be addressed, just not immediately. I suspect I am not alone in finally realizing that the world will not end if, when on vacation, you are unable to immediately respond to every situation. Sure, the airlines are enhancing their connectivity, Wi-Fi is improving even when the cruise ships are at sea, and we can still plug in, but these are not solutions; these are symptoms of the same ailment. Hopefully the strategies I’ve touched on can help you establish techniques to actually take vacation, not burn out, and have an increased sense of satisfaction with our rewarding but challenging profession. So, remember: 1) Who’s got your back? 2) Have a plan for the Veruca Salts in Willy Wonka who just, “Want it NOW!” 3) Taking a break is not a sign of weakness. 4) Set limits. Another option is to set aside 30 LawSpace Match Empty law office space for rent in your law firm? At www.lawspacematch.com, we connect lawyers who share office space. Advertise in 40,000 zip codes instantly. Rent your law office and earn money from attorneys leasing your LawSpace. Show law office amenities and upload six photos. Also, attorneys post their profiles. The Official News Publication of the Atlanta Bar Association THE ATLANTA LAWYER 31