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The value of taking a complete work-free holiday as a small-firm owner

Two small-firm owners discuss the benefit of taking a true work-free holiday and how they prepare their firm and their clients for their absence. 

user iconJess Feyder 02 March 2023 Big Law
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Recently, several small-firm owners spoke to Lawyers Weekly about how difficult it can be to take a holiday while being primarily responsible for a firm. On the flip side, two firm owners discussed the benefit of taking a true holiday and explained how they manage to do it. 

“Don’t switch off because you deserve the break (although you do), or because you should be more present with your loved ones (you should), or because your colleagues will appreciate a break from your half-baked email replies (and believe me, they will),” stated Nick Mann founder and principal of Polaris Lawyers.

Some of the best, most valuable insights and ideas you will ever have about your firm are lurking just behind the noisy busywork of emails that keeps you refreshing your server.


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Will McCullough, principal lawyer at MCC Advisory, discussed the practical steps he takes to set up his firm and clients for when he goes on holiday.

“Operating as a sole practitioner allows me to have really close connections with my clients; usually, they have weeks (if not months) of notice before I go on holiday. 

“This allows my clients to bring forward any matters that need to be addressed before I go on holiday, or to push those matters back until I return,” he told Lawyers Weekly.

“My clients are used to me being very responsive, so most are keen to ensure that I get a decent break when I’m on holiday!

“Of course, if a client needs to get hold of me in an emergency, they will find a way ... and if I can resolve something quickly, then I would typically respond with some assistance,” he explained. “Otherwise, I refer them to someone else who can help.”

“I think there is a general understanding that as a client working with a sole practitioner, you get the benefit of your lawyer’s responsiveness and close integration within your business, and that the flip side to this is that sometimes your lawyer will be unavailable (whether for holiday or other personal reasons).”

“Most of the time, I think this arrangement works in favour of both the client and the lawyer.”

“In short, communication is key, and I think it is reasonable to set a firm but fair boundary with clients while on holiday.”

“I also think that small-firm owners who have really close relationships with their clients have the best chance of an uninterrupted holiday (just so long as the clients are given as much notice as possible),” Mr McCullough said.