Feeling Pressure To Work On Thanksgiving? Why Associates & Partners Should Go Home

Last month, AmLaw held its first conference for new partners in big firms. There they gathered information about the various expectations, disappointments, and surprises that came with making law partner in or after 2008.

“Overall,the new partners are basking in the land of more: more money, moreresponsibility, and more information about their firms. However, their workloadand their time with clients and, alas, with family are all about the same,”wrote The AmLaw Daily about their findings.

There were two classes of new partners—those who received ample mentorship and training from superiors, and those who felt unprepared and unguided in their new partnership path. Law firm partners, however, are not alone in feeling the strain of muddled expectations.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and though it is an official, federal holiday, it’s not uncommon for lawyers—from associates to senior partners—to be summoned to the office.

At the same time, other associates will feel pressure to come in to the office with or without orders to do so. We all know that stress and competition levels are high in a downturn economy.

Of course there are always tasks to complete on client matters, time to make up, or good impressions to promulgate. But, associates and new partners tend to also fall victim to believing a hidden expectation exists that requires them to work on holidays.

Here are a few reasons why you should stay home this Thanksgiving.

1. Set your own expectations

Believe it or not, your firm does not expect all of its associates to work onThanksgiving. In fact, billing holiday time will be difficult to explain to strapped-for-cash clients. And, if  you an associate looking to get promoted, your actions now only speak to the firm’s established expectations of you in the future.

If you don’t want the firm to expect you to work every Thanksgiving year-on-year (and then every Christmas, New Years, and Flag Day too), opt out of this one.

2. See your family

An attorney’s schedule is an arduous one. Many weekends are spent in the office, conducting research, filing briefs, or at trial. However, court clerks and clients alike take a break on Thanksgiving. And so should you.

Take this unique opportunity where stores and courthouses are closed to celebrate something special with your family. This time may not come again soon.

3. Teach your firm that you can telecommute

If there are deeds to be done, do them at home. Set the standard now that you are able to telecommute, and be productive when doing so. On Wednesday, check out a firm laptop and let your colleagues know you will be logging in remotely. After all, isn’t that why your firm invested money in all that new technology?

Senior attorneys will be impressed that your casework was completed at home, and you will be grateful to have a mouthful of turkey and pumpkin pie during those tedious hours of doc review.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving—From, [Insert name of] your firm.

-WB

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