Vacations for Lawyers

Q: I'm a college freshman interested in pursuing law (not civil), and I was just wondering, on average, how many weeks of vacation a starting out lawyer would receive. Also, is it easy to take time off in the law field, or do you have to plan your vacations around your work?

A: Vacation time for lawyers is a chronic problem. The demands of many law practices are extremely intense, and vacations are often sacrificed to client needs and litigation schedules. Many lawyers with a good sense of balance in life make a conscientious effort to set aside vacation time, as well as evening and weekend time, for themselves and their families. However, these efforts often face serious pressure. Many lawyers have a highly developed sense of duty, and business pressures in private practice often make it difficult to tell an anxious client to 'wait.' Many personal and family relationships of lawyers suffer harm as a result, and many lawyers themselves feel profound distress that their lives have fallen seriously 'out of balance.'

If you are significantly motivated by a desire for regular and generous vacations, you may wish to consider another field -- for example, teaching, which may offer holiday and summer vacations. If law remains of interest, you may wish to consider law practice with the government, which will often promise a less hectic schedule and more predictable (though not particularly long) vacations. However, as a college freshman, you have plenty of time to think about this -- and many other things -- before you decide. I encourage you to focus on your studies and life interests for the next couple of years, and think again graduate school in your junior year. If you are interested in time off, a great time to do this is after college. Why not take a year or two, and see the world? There is no rush. You have the rest of your life to "work," if you choose. Take the time now to live a little.

Edward Honnold

Edward Honnold graduated in 1978 from Yale Law School, where he served as Editor of the Yale Law Journal and Articles Editor of the Yale Journal of World Public Order. After law school, Ed Honnold moved to Washington D.C. to practice law in a private firm and eventually to serve in the judicial, legislative and executive branches of Government.

While serving at U.S. Agency for International Development, Mr. Honnold began laying the foundation for a mid-life career change by earning a Masters in Social Work (M.S.W.) degree from Virginia Commonwealth University. Mr. Honnold is currently in full-time private practice in Washington, D.C., counseling individuals and business groups on personal and professional transition issues. He specializes in counseling discontented lawyers who are interested in undertaking either a lateral move within the field or using their law degree as a stepping stone to a different line of work. Mr. Honnold can be reached at (202) 726-4169.

Read more about Edward Honnold

Edward Honnold's Articles

First Steps for Disillusioned Lawyers

Edward Honnold's Career Management and Planning Q&A's

Summer Associate Position in 2001
High School Preparation for a Law Career
Career Options for Registered Nurse/Law Student
Big firm, big pay ... not-so-good grades
Opportunities in the Entertainment Industry

View all by this author

FindLaw Career Center

    Search for Law Jobs:

      Post a Job  |  View More Jobs
Ads by FindLaw