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For new lawyers especially, part of the thrill of becoming a full-time professional is the challenge of a “road trip.” Time out of the office can be a welcome break from the routine. And the sense of independence, and competence, that comes from mastering a new environment can be exhilarating. On the other hand, travel can be frustrating, sometimes nearly overwhelming. Here’s how to prepare for business travel, as a lawyer, and how to deal with some of the most common problems that can arise. Prepare The difference between a great trip and the merely good (or truly awful) almost always depends upon preparation. Casual travel can be fun, on vacation, but rarely does an effective business trip just occur spontaneously. Consider a few keys to preparation: • Make sure the trip is necessary. With modern communication devices (including audio and video conferencing) many meetings can be conducted without ever leaving the office. Such meetings are easier to schedule (or re-schedule, if the need arises), and much less expensive than in-person travel. Face-to-face meetings thus may be reserved for occasions where personal interaction or extended conversation are required. • Make sure the timing of the trip is as convenient as possible. Avoid holidays and other events when your counterparts may be distracted or unavailable. When in doubt (e.g., on travel to a foreign country), review your proposed itinerary with someone on the ground in your destination (a colleague in a local office of your firm, or an assistant at your client or business contact). At very least, before setting the schedule for your trip in stone, make sure that key personnel with whom you wish to meet will be available, and have reserved time for your visit. • Don’t ignore your own schedule. Travel is inconvenient, and time-consuming, and generally less efficient than work in your own office. If you face several other tasks that must be completed during the same period as your trip, one or the other of your assignments may suffer. Consider shifting some of your home tasks to someone else, or deferring those tasks to a later date; or change the time for your trip. Arrange the trip The modern economy and technology environment provides ever-greater ranges of travel options. Unfortunately, the breadth of options can sometimes become confusing. Consider some basic guidance: • Clients may have specific expectations regarding your travel arrangements. They may expect you to make use of their discounted reservation systems, to stay in hotels with whom they have affiliations, and to travel in budget class, wherever possible. Learn about these restrictions, and follow them. Such restrictions are not all bad. In some instances, your entire trip can be arranged with the assistance of a client’s travel department. • If your own firm has a travel department, or a fixed relationship with an outside travel service, use it. Although you may wish to use Internet sites to get a sense of options for travel and accommodations, consult with the travel service to make sure that these options really can be implemented, and to ensure that you get the best possible rates. • Work through the practical problems that may arise. How will you get to and from the airport? Do you need to arrange a car service pickup? If most of the meetings will be in one location, you may want accommodations in a nearby hotel. But what if one of the meetings will be somewhere else (distant)–how will you get there? Will it make more sense to shift hotels at that point? What if the trip is extended? Will you be able to change your return travel plans? Think through these kinds of potential developments, in advance, and develop solutions to deal with them. Plan for emergencies Mere inconvenience at home can become a real emergency in another town (especially on foreign travel). Take the time to plan for “worst case” scenarios: • Create a travel itinerary of some form, and make sure that others (your secretary, relevant colleagues, folks at home) have copies of it. Make sure that there are several alternative ways that you can be contacted, in the event of an emergency at home. • Establish a system for regular check-in with those you leave behind. If you go missing for an extended period, someone should be looking for you. • Make sure you have any prescription medications you may need. Develop a short form of medical history (listing, for example, any significant conditions and allergies, contact information for your regular doctor, and insurance data), which can be provided to a doctor or emergency room personnel if something goes wrong.. Consider wearing a medical emergency bracelet, containing any critical information. • If your travel documents are stolen, make sure they can be replaced. Bring copies of any key documents (e.g., passport, travelers check registry), and keep the copies in a safe place. Take it easy on the trip Above all else, on any trip, your aim should be to keep safe, healthy and comfortable, so that you can perform your work effectively, and avoid the “road warrior” syndrome. Toward that end, consider: • Wear comfortable clothes, if possible, while traveling, but avoid the risk that you may arrive with your checked luggage nowhere to be found. Carry a suit-bag, so that you can change immediately (without completely unpacking) at your destination, while you wait for your luggage, or at your hotel or office before the first meeting. • Pay attention to your diet, exercise and rest. Travel can be stressful in itself. Adding rich food, long periods of inactivity, and late night merriment often aggravates the situation. • Try to enjoy some of the local color. Do some research on the destination before you go. Ask colleagues, friends, your client or local business contacts for recommendations of the best/most interesting experience that can be had at this location. Build in some time, during the trip, or at the end, to see something other than the inside of conference rooms. Complete the paperwork Well-organized business travelers do not just drop their bags and begin the next project on return to the office. The trip is really not over until the paperwork is done. Consider: • Prepare an interview memorandum, or daily trip report, promptly after each significant meeting on your trip (at very least, sometime shortly after you complete the trip). If you travel with a colleague, consider assigning the task to one or the other of you, with the second person serving as reviewer. Your twin recollections of events often will surpass what you might recall individually. • Keep track of receipts, as you pay for travel-related expenses. Write notes on the receipts, if there may be any question later, as to the purpose and source of the charge. Submit your expense report promptly on return to the office. Memories fade, and records rarely get better with time • Bring back maps, guides and other information that may help you the next time you travel to this destination. Over time, you can create a very useful set of reference volumes for future travel. The author is a partner in the New York offices of Jones Day, and author of The Path To Partnership (Praeger). The views expressed are solely those of the author, and should not be attributed to the author’s firm, or its clients.

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