Lawyer Wellness

Orrick hopes to battle burnout with 'unplug time' policy

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Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe wants its staff members and lawyers to take a week off work “to truly unplug.”

The 40 hours of vacation time will count toward billable hours, report Above the Law and Reuters.

“We don’t want to lose you to burnout—especially when many members of our team are working exceptionally hard,” the law firm said in a memo obtained by Above the Law. “So we’re going to try something different: We’re setting a formal expectation (and creating a policy) that each member of our team—partners, counsel, associates and staff—takes one week to truly unplug each year. Yes! A week without email, Zoom or calls—the rest is up to you.”

Orrick’s chief talent officer, Siobhan Handley, told Reuters Orrick is the first law firm to adopt such a policy, as far as she knows. The policy is strongly encouraged but not required, she said.

Those on an unplugged vacation will designate a buddy to cover for them or to reach out in the event of an emergency.

“The goal is that the work is getting done by others, that team members will step in and say, ‘I got this,’” Handley told Reuters.

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