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Let’s think positive and assume that when a partner or general counsel says “hit the road,” he’s sending you on a business trip. Whether the initial reaction is excitement or dread, the best thing to do is prepare. “The first thing you need to know is don’t expect it to be glamorous,” says Bill Stutts, a finance partner at Baker Botts of Austin, Texas. Whether the destination is San Diego or Sheboygan, Wis., keep in mind that it’s a business trip � you’ll be dealing with clients, opposing parties and their counsel � maybe even comrades from your firm’s branch office whom you want to impress. “Understand why you’re going,” says Bill Cooper, a corporate and securities partner at Andrews & Kurth of Houston. Know exactly what the partner wants you to accomplish while you’re gone. Then, “be proactive. Think, ‘What can I do ahead of time?’” Cooper says. Ask questions. Find out about the client and the purpose of the trip, he says. Next, get task-appropriate sample documents ready to take. For example, if you’re going on the business trip because the firm is working on a merger, take a memo outlining the client’s due diligence goals. If traveling outside of the United States, make sure your passport is current, says Rachel Clingman, a litigation partner at Fulbright & Jaworski’s of Houston. Clingman speaks from experience: Once she went to Canada and realized only when she was crossing the border that her passport had expired. Clingman says she “sweet talked” her way in and out of the country, “but I doubt that’d happen now, after Sept. 11.” Find out what vaccinations are needed for foreign travel, says Chris Strong, a senior associate with Vinson & Elkins of Houston, who worked in the firm’s Singapore office for three years. His practice areas include project finance and mergers and acquisitions. No matter what country, it’s best to have a tetanus shot and Hepatitis A and B vaccinations, he says. A lawyer’s health and ability to work are of the utmost importance to the firm. Talk with a human resources representative and insurance company about doctors in other states and countries, especially if you’re pregnant or have a pre-existing medical condition, such as diabetes, Clingman says. She notes that she had to learn that the hard way, too. Clingman says she was pregnant and on a plane headed for Norway when she felt an unusual sensation. Being a first-time mother, she didn’t know what was happening and feared something might be wrong. Eventually she found a Norwegian doctor who spoke English who told her the baby had hiccups in utero. Lesson learned? Before departing, research doctors, clinics and hospitals in other states that are in your health care provider’s network, as well as doctors who will see American citizens abroad, Clingman says. Find out if you’re expected to plan the trip, says Randy Christian, a partner at Clark, Thomas & Winters, of Austin, Texas. Book a flight as soon as possible to save money, says Christian, who travels for work 25 percent to 50 percent of the time, mostly in the United States. And “don’t pay for first class, that’s for sure,” he says. Some firms expect lawyers to make their travel arrangements. At other firms, secretaries take care of it. In addition, some firms have contracts with travel agencies to get discount rates. So ask around, Christian says, and find out the firm’s protocol. Print your itinerary, Clingman says. Don’t forget to include the details: hotel names, addresses, phone numbers, fax numbers and reservation confirmation numbers; airline names, phone numbers, flight numbers, flight schedules and reservation confirmation; and client contact names, addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses. Also, put the contact information of the aforementioned doctors, clinics and hospitals on the itinerary, she says. An itinerary printout comes in handy in foreign countries where you don’t speak the language, Clingman says. After hailing a taxi, just point to the name and address of the hotel. “My printouts have saved me in countries when they didn’t speak English,” she adds. Once at the destination, expect to put in more hours than usual, Christian says. “Clients expect you to put in more hours because not only are they paying your hourly billable rate, but also for the travel,” Christian says. Work first, play second � but don’t be afraid to explore the city. Find out in advance at least one tourist attraction or unique-to-that-city place to go. Have some fun, and learn more about the city rather than hiding out in the hotel room when work is done for the day. Packing It On Travel really can pack on the pounds, so pack workout clothes, Christian says. Restaurant fare is more fat- and salt-laden than home cooking. “You don’t want all that to weigh on you,” Christian says. Glenn Pinkerton, a partner at Vinson & Elkins who travels for work 20 percent of the time, says, “Take your swim shorts [or bathing suit]. It’s the smallest item you can pack and be guaranteed a good workout.” Most hotels have pools, but some lack enough workout equipment, he adds. John Bickel, co-managing partner of Bickel & Brewer in Dallas, says it’s a good idea to call ahead and find out what workout facilities a hotel has. Bickel practices business litigation and travels in the United States and abroad 30 percent to 40 percent of the time. “Those which have scant equipment may have privileges with a local, nearby club, allowing you to get a good workout at a great place after paying a nominal, daily fee,” Bickel says. “It’s worthwhile to inquire.” Find out if the hotel has room service. Finding a restaurant, going to it, placing an order, eating and then getting back to the hotel can take a big chunk of time out of an already busy schedule, Bickel says. If there’s room service, you can get a good meal and work while you eat. Several lawyers who travel frequently say to drink plenty of water. “Flights leave you dehydrated,” Clingman says, who adds “more water equals less fatigue and more mental alertness.” Diane Johnson, assistant general counsel at Bank of America in Dallas, couldn’t agree more. “Drinking water is the biggest help in . . . keeping me on my toes.” But don’t ask for ice in other countries, especially if other diners don’t have ice in their water or drinks, Pinkerton says. Typically, ice is made from tap water. Don’t drink tap water if it has possible contaminants, and don’t ask for ice. “It’s better to have the warm Coke than the one that makes you sick,” he says. Don’t forget to keep receipts. Clingman always attaches an envelope to her itinerary and puts her receipts in it. Put “all receipts � absolutely everything � in it even if you’re not sure it’s something you can be reimbursed for or bill to a client,” she says. “You sort that out when you’re back at the office.” Remember: “While you’re out of town, all the stuff back home doesn’t stop,” Stutts says. “It’s too easy to forget. Out of sight, out of mind.” Stay in touch with the office. Check voice-mail and e-mail regularly. Periodically talk to your secretary. In other words, you’ll do double duty making sure work gets done on the road and at the home office. Save time and take advantage of what would otherwise be downtime � waiting around in airports. If possible, Pinkerton says, get an American Express platinum card, which ensures access to the clubs in all the airports. That’s what Bickel does, too. He takes advantage of the airport clubs, where there are Internet hookups and fax machines. Such clubs are “office-friendly and quiet,” he says. “You want to kill as many birds with one stone as possible,” Bickel says. What To Take OK. So you’ve found out what you’re expected to accomplish, the travel and hotel arrangements are made, and you know what to eat and how to stay in shape. It’s time to pack. “The first rule is never check baggage,” says Pinkerton. Carry what will fit in the overhead compartment; it saves time at the airport when checking in, going through security and arriving at the destination, he says. The other benefit is not worrying about bags getting lost. Check with the airline to find out what can be carried on and what needs to be checked. Don’t try to fit a large piece of luggage in the overhead. Not only is it rude, it also won’t fit, thereby causing a delay while a flight attendant takes it, tags it and tosses it to the ground crew to check and add to the cargo. Learn from Stutts: He arrived at 2 a.m. to his Wilmington, Del., hotel, while the bag with his suit for his meeting arrived in Wilmington, N.C. The lesson learned? If something’s essential (such as a client file or your medicine), don’t put it in checked luggage that may get lost, says Stutts, who travels for work about 20 percent of the time. Clingman adds: “I will not travel without luggage and bags with wheels. You never know how far you’re going to have to walk and haul your stuff.” Johnson learned early on that one of the biggest mistakes a business traveler can make is to pack too many clothes and end up with a heavy, unwieldy suitcase. Pack light, and pack clothing that doesn’t wrinkle easily, she says. Then there’s the laptop. Remember it can’t plug in everywhere � in the United States, there may not be an outlet nearby and foreign countries use different electric voltage and outlets. However, other countries, more so than the United States, have Internet caf�s, Clingman says, which make it easier to check e-mail through the firm’s intranet site; or, before the trip, auto-forward work e-mail to e-mail service providers, such as MSN’s Hotmail or Yahoo!, so it’s always accessible. In today’s world, it’s impossible to do business without technology. That’s why it’s paramount to “get your technology needs in order,” Strong says. It’s wise to purchase a converter kit for travel outside the United States, since voltage varies, he says. They can be purchased at most electronics stores. Have a good, long talk with the techies in the information technology department. Tell them the destination, the job and the hardware and software needs. Ask IT folks for a tutorial on dialing and connecting to the Internet and firm intranet from abroad. Most firm techies provide a number to call 24 hours a day for tech support, Strong says. Don’t expect cell phones to work abroad either, he says. However, usually a cell phone can be rented from your local cell phone provider for international use. Clingman adds that it’s a good idea to pack an extra cell phone battery. “When packing, wear black,” Clingman says. That way you have no decisions to make about what suit to wear or matching colors or accessories, such as shoes and belts. In addition, she says, “if your trip is unexpectedly extended, you can always go out and buy any color shirt and it’ll match.” “Black is not memorable,” Clingman says, so no one will notice if you’ve worn it before, “and it’s always professional.” Don’t sweat the small stuff. Hotels have items such as toothbrushes, razors and irons that are easy to forget. And, as Strong says, “take a credit card. No matter where you go, you can find and get what you need, if you can pay for it.” Overwhelmed? Don’t be. There is a lot more to a business trip than meets the eye. “I love it,” Clingman says. “You’re exposed to so many people and cultures. It’s harder than working in the office. It’s tiring. But it’s always mind-expanding.” Surf Before You Fly All the lawyers we talked to agree that the single best thing to do before a business trip is talk to colleagues who travel frequently to get their tips and advice, but there are plenty of helpful Web sites, too. � Cell phones; www.worldcell.com or www.t-mobile.com. That cell phone of yours won’t work in other countries. If you’re going to need one while traveling abroad, WorldCell International Cellular Service and T-Mobile are just two such providers that allow you to rent and/or buy international cell phones. � Deep vein thrombosis; http://ohp.nasa.gov/alerts/dvt.html. A National Aeronautics and Space Administration occupational health site explains the illness, its symptoms, risk factors and how to help prevent it. According to NASA, “there is increasing evidence that immobilization in airlines seats” puts people at risk for DVT, which is why it’s sometimes called “economy class syndrome.” With DVT, blood clots form in veins deep in extremities or body cavities, according to NASA. Many who have DVT develop blood clots in their legs. Symptoms include swelling and tenderness. If the clot breaks away, it can travel to the lungs and result in serious illness or even death, as was the case with NBC correspondent David Bloom, who died while traveling with troops in Iraq. It’s more common in women than men and more prevalent in those over 40, NASA says. Smoking, being overweight, oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy increase one’s chances of developing the illness. � Immunizations; www.cdc.gov/travel. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a special “Traveler’s Health” section that’s chock-full of information you need about immunizations and staying healthy while traveling abroad. � Know before you go; www.state.gov/travel. The U.S. Department of State’s Web site is packed with travel information � from Afghanistan to Burkina Faso to Mauritius to Zimbabwe � including statistics on every country, warnings about wars and civil unrest, and exchange rates. It also lists emergency services for U.S. citizens. � Packing; www.fodors.com and www.astanet.com. If you’re looking for a general packing list, several are available on the Web. Fodor’s, known for its guidebooks of sites, hotels and restaurants around the globe, has a plethora of information for travelers on its site, as does the American Society of Travel Agents. � Passports; http://travel.state.gov/passport_services.html. Go to the U.S. Department of State Web site’s “Passport Services and Information” section. There, among other tidbits, you can find information about passports, an application to print and fill out, and other forms, such as one to complete if you’ve changed your name. It costs $85 and takes about six weeks to get a passport, according to the State Department. Fipps is managing editor at Texas Lawyer , a sister publication of the Law Journal .

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