Many clients feel worried and stressed when they hear that their lawyer is going on holiday.
Here are my top 3 tips for clients about what to do when your lawyer goes on holidays:
- Be Prepared: Ideally, your lawyer should be making you aware that they are going on holiday, well ahead of time. You don’t want the first time you hear about your lawyer being away from the office for 6 weeks is be when you receive their Out-of-Office automatic email reply. When your lawyer tells you that they are going on holiday, this is a good opportunity for you and your lawyer to discuss matters:
- any planned events happening when they are away, e.g. a court date in your matter or due date for documents to be filed; or
- trying to anticipate issues which may happen when you are away i.e. are you awaiting Court material or are you required to have completed a certain step, e.g., valuation of assets etc.
Having these conversations with your lawyer, beforehand can be helpful to create a time frame and deadlines for the work that needs to be done when your lawyer is away.
- Be Supported: At McLaughlins Lawyers, we pride ourselves on our teamwork. What this means for our client is that if the lawyer who is working on your case is away, there will be other lawyers and support staff who can assist with your matter.
Generally, the lawyer handling your matter will have some kind of a handover or discussion with the other members of the team or in the office about what needs to be done on your file when they are away.
You may find that you will be speaking with a para-legal within the firm. Don’t underestimate the knowledge, skill and experience which paralegals provide. Also, they charge less than lawyers! Find out who will be working on your matter when your lawyer is away.
- Be in Contact: Just because the particular lawyer who is handling your matter is unavailable, that doesn’t mean that you should not communicate or contact the firm at all. It might be that something important happens in your matter and you will need to act on it. If you receive any kind of legal notice or an issue arises that is relevant to your matter while your lawyer is away, it is important that you get in touch with the firm and advise them of these developments. Don’t wait until your lawyer gets back!
Similarly, if you are going to be away at the same time that your lawyer is, this doesn’t mean that work stops on your file. The firm may need to get in touch with you about about letters they have received or developments in your matter. If you know that you are going to be away at the same time as your lawyer, let the office know.
Remember that your lawyer is also allowed a holiday. If your lawyer is going away for an extended time, don’t panic. With some preparation, the support of other lawyers and paralegals in the firm, and keeping channels of communication open, you won’t have to stress when you receive the automatic reply email from your lawyer that they are out of the office.
Joelene Nel is a family lawyer at McLaughlins Lawyers on the Gold Coast. If you have a family law matter that you would like assistance with, please contact McLaughlins Lawyers on the Gold Coast on (07) 5591 5099.
Author: Joelene Nel
Director: Sophie Pearson
Date: 20 June 2018
I’m a family lawyer at McLaughlins Lawyers and will be going on an exciting family holiday, to London, for 3 weeks ! My last day at work is in xx days (not that I’m counting!)