The other day I was learning about a fellow lawyer, by reviewing her website. Her trademark practice is similar to mine. The site was inviting. She has a sense of humor.

“Nice,” thought I, “we should connect.”

I was reviewing her website because she’d made a mistake in a matter before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. Suddenly, my respect for this lawyer circled down the drain.

Because of the mistake? Absolutely not. We all make mistakes.

I lost respect for this lawyer because of four words: “I work on vacation.”


That is not a badge of honor.

The only time I work on vacation is if an actual, bona fide emergency happens. And granted, in some types of law practice real emergencies do happen (for example: deportation; eviction; being served in a lawsuit; imminent physical danger; anything involving handcuffs). In transactional practices, however, those things almost never happen. The client might think something’s an emergency, but 99% of the time it’s just poor planning.

So why would a transactional attorney work on vacation? Seems to me that shows either that the lawyer herself is bad at planning; or that she lacks the confidence to set realistic expectations with her clients.

I’m trying to see things from her point of view. Maybe she finds that work fills her soul more than anything else? OK, I guess. If she returns to work from…work…and is more alert and refreshed: great. Or maybe she thinks that working on vacation will attract more clients? If so, I hope she gets them. All of them. I hope she attracts all clients who want their transactional lawyer to be on call at all times no matter what. Because I don’t want them.

In our high tech, start-up, entrepreneurial economy, the mentality is increasingly to do things FAHA (Fast And Half Assed). That’s not me. I do things as quickly and efficiently as possible, and I respect the balance between legal risks and business realities. But bottom line, I’m going to insist on taking the time to do the job thoroughly. It’s not going to happen overnight, and it’s not going to happen during vacation.

If you’re a FAHA client, get a FAHA lawyer.

But please. Don’t work on vacation.