Community Perspectives: For those with unlimited/flexible PTO; how much time off do you aim to take each year?

In-house legal professionals talk about how much time they normally take off with their unlimited PTO policy.

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Community Perspectives: For those with unlimited/flexible PTO; how much time off do you aim to take each year?

(Author) Senior Counsel

For those with “unlimited” or “flexible” PTO, how much time off do you aim to take each year? Because this might be relevant; how long have you been at your company and how long have you been practicing law? If you manage people, how much time off do you think is acceptable for your team members? Let’s assume that no balls are being dropped and there are no performance issues of any kind.

I take 3-4 weeks off each year, but no more than one week at a time. I’ve been at my company for three years and I’ve been practicing for eight.

General Counsel Responses:

  • I’ve been at my company for one year and have taken two weeks of vacation in 2022 with another two weeks planned for the rest of the year.

Counsel Responses:

  • I use quite a bit. I specialize in commercial transactional with an emphasis on closing sales before the end of the quarter. I take 3-5 days off after each quarter close and separately at least two week-long international trips annually. And on three-day weekends I may extend a day. Maybe two.

  • I have my fiefdom and spent a ton of time optimizing and structuring to build that type of flexibility. So long as the deals fielded my way get handled, my boss doesn’t care. I also routinely send emails before and after hours to give the impression that I’m working around the clock (which to be fair does sometimes happen especially at the end of a quarter). My business partners also blow a ton of smoke up my ass for going above and beyond to help them close deals so that extra praise gives me a lot of goodwill to take time.

  • I have two years of experience. I take three weeks off (give or take a few days).

  • Over two years at my current position, I have ten years of experience, I take 1-2 weeks off, but end up working several hours almost every day, though less than full time. It’s mostly a culture thing. It’s a startup so there is no backup and things need to happen or the business dies. I also have my own solo clients who need constant attention anyway.

  • I don’t always take it all but I aim for 20 days a year not including reasonable sick days and appointments here and there.

  • This year, I’ll end up at three one-week vacations (so far I have taken one, with the remaining two upcoming) with some long weekends added on here and there. My company definitely touts a commitment to work/life balance, so my boss is supportive of taking PTO. I work with sales almost exclusively, so sometimes I end up fielding items while off, but it’s up to me to set those boundaries. I’ve been at my company since Feb and have nine years of experience.

Attorney and Associate Responses:

  • Practicing 6 years, at this firm for 4.5, I take about 1 week off a year.

  • In 2.5 years I took two separate weeks off the whole time I was there. I had 3-5 years of experience and I just lateraled to somewhere else.

  • I took two straight weeks off in July, a few days here and there, and I’ll take another week in November, and the week after Christmas.

  • I’ve been practicing six years, and I’ve been at my current company around seven months. I've taken a long weekend (two days off) and a full week off. I let my manager know up front I intend to take roughly three weeks of PTO throughout the year. And I will definitely be taking that. I think 2-4 weeks PTO depending on seniority/performance is reasonable.


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