Getting a break as a solo lawyer can be one of the biggest problems of sole practice. But there are some things the solo lawyer can do that ensure they get the break they need.
While the merits of working for yourself are numerous, the downside is the need to simply take a break when you have no-one to turn to for support.
And it’s not just the organizational effort of getting that break, there is also a psychological burden where you know you’re responsible for clients but not in the office to take the call, handle the case and – of course – avoid any client disappointment or negligence suit.
But there are some key things you can do, some of which were outlined by solo law consultant Jared Correia, who outlines 3 key things solo lawyers need to do in order to ‘make the break’.
1. Get to the Cloud
The fact is, the cloud software now about means you can use the cloud anywhere with a secure internet connection. Most of the main software systems like accounting software (Xero, QuickBooks), business software (Microsoft Office) and law practice management software are accessible via the cloud.
Just don’t fall into the workaholic trap and respond only when you have to. It’s a holiday, remember.
2. Schedule free time
As a solo lawyer you’re busy managing your business and can easily become bogged down by administrative work.
But if you schedule time off and use apps like Calendly, you can fit your vacation into your schedule like anything else you need to do.
Further, once you tell your clients you’re going to be away you also releive yourself of stress and you can then organize your schedule accordingly.
“If you’re open and up front with your clients and colleagues, you can create a free week for yourself. But, remember that weeks off don’t just happen—you have to arrange for them in advance.”
3. Backup Lawyer
Have a backup lawyer you can call on for peace of mind. Most malpractice insurance requires a backup attorney arrangement, but if you actually work to share the backup with others you also minimize the worry and stress that comes from taking time away from the office.
As Jared Correia writes –
Think of it as your own personal, mutual vacation club: a solo backs you up when you want to go away, you back up that solo when they want to go away. You can develop a formal contract, respecting what that arrangement entails. And you should definitely share your system passwords with your backup attorney because that is where all your data lives. Having a competent person who can jump in if a local issue arises while you are on vacation is a necessity.
The key with any successful solo law practice is to organize properly, delegate and ensure there is sufficient staffing in place to let you operate successfully both when you’re in the office or on the ski field.
To quote Jared Correia once more – “The best type of solo practice is a staffed one that you don’t necessarily have to be there on a daily basis to manage. If you’ve established that groundwork, going on a vacation should be the least of your concerns.”
Take that break. Your clients, your practice and your partner will reward you for it.