Jump to content
123ubc456

Best time to take vacation during articling

Recommended Posts

Just wondering if anyone can provide some insight into the best way to use vacation days during the articling period? I will begin articling next year and will have a total of 10 days/2 weeks of vacation. Is it better to take the entirety of the vacation time at once, split it up into one-week vacations, or another method? I understand this will largely depend on how busy the firm is, but any insight is appreciated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It’s going to depend on the firm - talk to your principal. Generally taking more than the stats plus maybe a day is frowned upon in the Christmas / New Years period unless they tell you otherwise. July/August are also tricky - basically try to avoid the times when everyone else and the people with kids take time off. If you have an important unmoveable event like a family wedding, let your principal know as they will likely accommodate that whenever it is. 

I never took vacation because I preferred to get paid out for it. If I had, I probably would have split it into separate weeks to give myself a couple of breaks. 

Edited by providence
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree best step is to feel it out, talk to your principal/other students at your firm, etc.

That's funny, my experience/advice is the opposite of providence's (in fact I wrote the paragraph below before I read what she wrote). I would say it's a bad time to take time off when other lawyers are in the office and busy, because that's when they need you to do stuff for them. It is better to take time off when they're also off because you don't have to be available to do their work.

 

Generally though, fall is a baaad time to take vacation (at least in civil litigation -- not sure how solicitor and criminal work ebbs and flows). A good time is Christmas time. Last week (or 2) of December and maybe first week of January are slow as hell. People tend to take vacation around now, the courts are closed, etc. (On the flip side, you can save your vacation and slack off during the last 2 weeks of Dec. when no one's there or leisurely catch up on work, but you didn't hear that from me hehe.)

Spring can get busy, especially Mid-Jan to May, but YMMV. 

A lot of lawyers take their main vacations around Christmas and then in July or August, before the big fall push. 

 

Edit: I agree 2 weeks straight is a bad look. I think you'll feel like taking all 10 days in general is a bad look -- i certainly did (i only took 2 days in total) -- but not so. Take all 10 days if you want and if you won't fall behind on work. Or you can take it and the end of your articles and finish early. And as providence mentioned, whatever you don't take you'll get paid out for it.

 

Edited by Lawl

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is unlikely that your firm is going to want you to be gone for a full two weeks straight, particularly at the critical times Providence mentioned. Talk to your principal or a senior lawyer at the firm.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Like Lawl said, the best time is likely to be at least partially dependent on the work you or your firm does.

Lots of residential real estate? Certain times in the summer might be bad. Lots of family law? Right before Christmas might be bad - could be lots of litigation over where the kids are spending Christmas. Etc.

Edited by SaulGoodman
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a thought, you may want to set aside a day or two as potential sick days - that way, if you do get sick/have an emergency, you aren't stuck tacking on days at the end of your articling period. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, 123ubc456 said:

Just wondering if anyone can provide some insight into the best way to use vacation days during the articling period? I will begin articling next year and will have a total of 10 days/2 weeks of vacation. Is it better to take the entirety of the vacation time at once, split it up into one-week vacations, or another method? I understand this will largely depend on how busy the firm is, but any insight is appreciated.

 

20 hours ago, Mountebank said:

It is unlikely that your firm is going to want you to be gone for a full two weeks straight, particularly at the critical times Providence mentioned. Talk to your principal or a senior lawyer at the firm.

OP, you're not starting articles until next year. Why are you asking this now instead of just waiting and doing what Mountebank (and others) have said?

I mean, I'm well out of the loop, but isn't this the kind of thing where you wait until you start working, and then once working (not on your first day!) at a suitable time you discuss it with your principal or another mentor, in such a way that it's clear you're looking to be as helpful as possible and are fine with not taking any vacation?

If there's some special reason as others have noted like a wedding, then yes, that's something you would bring up sooner. I suspect - but pay attention to others in this thread - that if you had a significant event like that within your first month of articles, you would bring it up well before starting articles - but not a year before!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, epeeist said:

OP, you're not starting articles until next year. Why are you asking this now instead of just waiting and doing what Mountebank (and others) have said?

...Curiosity?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, Xer said:

...Curiosity?

Or trying to plan a trip, a surgery, see relative etc. I think it's a valid question.

A lot of people around my firm tend to take it around the time they get called. So they will get called, take a couple weeks, return as an associate.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
55 minutes ago, Xer said:

...Curiosity?

 

16 minutes ago, setto said:

Or trying to plan a trip, a surgery, see relative etc. I think it's a valid question.

A lot of people around my firm tend to take it around the time they get called. So they will get called, take a couple weeks, return as an associate.

Hey, I and others better-informed than I replied, but ultimately, if someone wants better advice, give better information. Don't leave it to people to guess. Like if it were for a wedding or surgery, the advice was and would be different from if it was just ordinary vacation. Which was why I asked why they were asking, because the reason why they're asking matters.

Ordinary vacation, friends, SO planning, etc., my inclination would be, tell them you can't commit to any vacations during articles at least until working there and get an idea of the firm culture, but as noted, I'm not in this environment, pay attention to others.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, ghoulzrulez said:

As a thought, you may want to set aside a day or two as potential sick days - that way, if you do get sick/have an emergency, you aren't stuck tacking on days at the end of your articling period. 

Vacation time shouldn't be sick time... there should be separate allowances for that. 

 

10 hours ago, setto said:

Or trying to plan a trip, a surgery, see relative etc. I think it's a valid question.

A lot of people around my firm tend to take it around the time they get called. So they will get called, take a couple weeks, return as an associate.

For something like surgery, there should be discussions in advance with the firm. Same for weddings or other big events. For general "trying to plan a trip" or "see relatives", this should wait until you are settled in to articling. Your priority during articling should be articling, not planning a trip. I don't think you should be asking the firm about this a year in advance. 

Articling is primarily about learning and proving yourself. Don't treat it purely like employment. Learning should be more important than planning a trip. As others pointed out, you can plan a trip between finishing law school/bar exam and starting articles, or after articles before starting work. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/11/2018 at 1:32 PM, 123ubc456 said:

Just wondering if anyone can provide some insight into the best way to use vacation days during the articling period? I will begin articling next year and will have a total of 10 days/2 weeks of vacation. Is it better to take the entirety of the vacation time at once, split it up into one-week vacations, or another method? I understand this will largely depend on how busy the firm is, but any insight is appreciated.

Articling is a period when you need to “man up.” Long hours? Suck it up. Lots of projects? Smile and keep hustling. Asked to do mundane tasks? Sure no problem. That’s the attitude you need to have during articling if you want to get hired back/want a solid reference. Using time off - unless it’s absolutely necessary I wouldn’t use it.

 

That said a lot of firms close down over the Christmas/new year period so if you’re thinking of doing a week long all inclusive type trip I’d time it around then so you don’t actually book off too many extra days off. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, providence said:

Vacation time shouldn't be sick time... there should be separate allowances for that. 

 

For something like surgery, there should be discussions in advance with the firm. Same for weddings or other big events. For general "trying to plan a trip" or "see relatives", this should wait until you are settled in to articling. Your priority during articling should be articling, not planning a trip. I don't think you should be asking the firm about this a year in advance. 

Articling is primarily about learning and proving yourself. Don't treat it purely like employment. Learning should be more important than planning a trip. As others pointed out, you can plan a trip between finishing law school/bar exam and starting articles, or after articles before starting work. 

Unfortunately the ESA doesn’t cover articling students. It’s the Wild West really. So unfortunately there is no allotted paid or unpaid personal emergency leave. I agree there should be though above and beyond the 10 days off everyone gets. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, CanadianJD27 said:

Unfortunately the ESA doesn’t cover articling students. It’s the Wild West really. So unfortunately there is no allotted paid or unpaid personal emergency leave. I agree there should be though above and beyond the 10 days off everyone gets. 

Most reasonable firms will let students take reasonable sick days that do not impact their vacation time, though. We do. No one wants someone spreading a bad flu around the office or sitting around groaning in pain unable to function. And likewise if someone has a true emergency to deal with, most people will allow them to go do that. There might not be monthly sick days, but a day or two or three over the articling period is no big deal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, providence said:

Most reasonable firms will let students take reasonable sick days that do not impact their vacation time, though. We do. No one wants someone spreading a bad flu around the office or sitting around groaning in pain unable to function. And likewise if someone has a true emergency to deal with, most people will allow them to go do that. There might not be monthly sick days, but a day or two or three over the articling period is no big deal.

Agreed, a reasonable firm would understand a bad flu, death in the family etc.  But in terms of legally - there is no requirement to do so.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah....articling.  The year after my call, the "place" where I had articled increased the salary by 12G (pro-rated to 10 months) and added 10 paid vacation days.   I articled a year too early!!!  :)  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/12/2018 at 11:37 PM, CanadianJD27 said:

Articling is a period when you need to “man up.” Long hours? Suck it up. Lots of projects? Smile and keep hustling. Asked to do mundane tasks? Sure no problem. That’s the attitude you need to have during articling if you want to get hired back/want a solid reference. Using time off - unless it’s absolutely necessary I wouldn’t use it.

 

That said a lot of firms close down over the Christmas/new year period so if you’re thinking of doing a week long all inclusive type trip I’d time it around then so you don’t actually book off too many extra days off. 

And this attitude is why we have a mental health crisis in law. There is nothing wrong with taking vacation time that you are entitled to. In fact, it probably makes you a happier, healthier and more productive employee. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.



  • Recent Posts

    • You just completed your articles in insurance defense and yet claim to have vast knowledge in the field of medical and health law. You've also got an  LLM that focused on 11 different topics unrelated to insurance or civil lit.  But the type of law you are really interested in is IP law.   And you intend to tell employers about your poly marriage?  During interviews I assume?  Only way it could be a red flag is if you told someone unless your last name is Blackmore.  
    • The reason many 1Ls get crushed after grades come out is because they mistakenly carried the "hard work means good grades" mentality into law school. The bolded part of your post is me pointing out that you're making the same mistake. What I think you really need to do is change how you prepare for exams. My advice to you FOLLOW AT YOUR OWN RISK I'm a fellow slow worker. When I prepared for midterms like everyone else, I got the same marks as everyone else. When I prepared for final exams like a slow worker, I beat the curve in 6/7 courses. The only course where I didn't beat the curve was also the only class I made the mistake of not doing the aforementioned. Understand that you can't do all of the assigned work. It may take other people 1 hour to do a 30 page reading while it takes you 4 hours (I personally need to read every word on the page). Doing all of the assigned work is just not feasible for you because its not an efficient use of time. There is absolutely no shame in admitting this or accepting this. Doing all of the assigned work is just one of many different ways to prepare for the exam. You should let my exam grade determine whether your unique method of preparation is right or wrong. Understand that doing all of the assigned work doesn't mean you shouldn't be doing any work or even less work, it just means you should be doing the work that helps you best prepare for the exam. Doing the readings - Your main focus should be to make the most efficient use of your time (i.e. doing the type of work that helps you, as an individual, best prepare for the exam) First, check the syllabus to understand the place of this reading in the class (you'd be surprised how many people overlook the value of the course syllabus). The question here is: what am I reading? What topic is this reading on? How many days will you be dealing with this topic? How many pages is it? Is the topic a standalone topic or one piece of a bigger topic? This will give you a rough idea of how much time and concern you should give to this topic and also generally primes you for the work you need to do. Second, very briefly skim the reading while paying attention to the structure of the reading. Read the headings, intros, conclusions, etc. This will help you understand the skeleton of the reading.  Third, once you understand what you're reading (i.e. after completing the first two steps) your next question is: why am I reading this? Why has the professor assigned this reading? In other words, what does your professor want you, as a student, to get out of this reading for the purposes of their class? To answer these questions, look to course summaries/CANs from upper years who have taken the same course with the same professor.  Fourth, now you know what you're reading and why you're reading it. The question now here is: what does this reading say about that? If you're a person who's comfortable relying on a summary/CAN, then rely on your summaries/CANs to provide answer the answer to this question. If you're a person who's more comfortable doing the reading, then let the summaries/CANs create the signposts of what's important in the reading so you can focus on that and allocate your time effectively.  For example, if you're dealing with the topic of sexual assault in 1L criminal law, then you're probably going to want to read all of Ewanchuk and only focus on the bare essentials in every other case (e.g. R v Chase - only matters because it tells us how to interpret the sexual nature element of the AR; R v Cuerrier - only matters because it tells us when fraud vitiates consent and what L'Heureux Dube and McLachlin say in their respective dissents, respectfully, doesn't matter for the strict purpose of your exam unless your professor cares about policy; R v Mabior - only matters because it tells us when non-disclosure of HIV status vitiates consent/constitutes fraud; R v JA - only matters because it tells us to how interpret consent and, respectfully, Fish's dissent doesn't matter unless your professor cares about policy; etc)  Lectures - The purpose of lectures isn't for the professor to spoon-feed you the material, for you to practice your skills as a typist and copy the lecture verbatim or for you to get your online Christmas shopping done. The purpose of the lecture is for the professor to: Confirm to you that you're on the right track (i.e. you've done the aforementioned Reading stage correctly and understand what the topic is, why you're doing the reading, and that you know what you need to know) Clarify anything in the readings and/or correct any mistakes/things missing from your understanding/notes or the summaries/CANs you've relied on Provide you with their unique perspective/opinion/approach to the topic at hand. You're going to keep this in mind when writing your exam in order to cater to their beliefs, prejudices. For example, if you have a feminist professor, don't argue that sex work should be criminalized on an exam. Present both sides to the argument, and in one sentence say that you support it even if you don't. As a future lawyer, you're going to be arguing a lot of things you don't agree with or believe in for your own personal gain. Might as well start early   Give you any hints about the exam. Professors notice if/when the herd thins out during the school year and some times will be inclined to reward students for attending. There have been multiple times that I've gotten useful hints about exams from a professor simply for being present during a boring lecture in the middle of October Exams - Exam-writing is a skill. Learn it. Read books on how to develop the skill. My recommendation is "Law School Exams: A Guide to Better Grades" by Alex Schimel. Create your own outline. In your 5 to 15 page outline, you should have every piece of the "what you need to know" part of each of your readings. There should be absolutely no superfluous bullshit, fluff or fat on your outline. You've literally condensed the entire course into those 5 to 15 pages. Your casebook, other peoples outlines/CANs, etc were all just tools for you to arrive at your own outline.  Learn your outline cold. I mean cold. This doesn't only mean just memorizing it. You should be able to open up ExamSoft and type out the blackletter law part of your future exam answer on demand and at near-lightning speed. The only class that I actually did this properly for was the one I finished at the top (and despite missing a major issue on the exam) and the other class that I did this, but sort of half-assed, I got an A- despite writing one paragraph for a question worth 33% question because I blanked out. Once you've learned the outline cold, take a few old exam questions and do timed exams on ExamSoft. Your focus is to type out the blackletter law as you've been doing and then actually apply it to the facts. Review your answer by yourself, then with a professor (if you can reach them/they'll allow this) and finally compare against old exam answers. Many people will disagree with this but once you do a few of these timed exams, you'll start to notice repeating patterns in terms of the issues tested, answer structures, etc (there can only be so many and also many professors are creatures of habit). 
    • Had a similar thing happen: What can you tell me about person X? Should I know person X? They mentioned you in their interview... I have no idea who this person is...
×
×
  • Create New...