You can spot a lawyer a mile off at Christmas.
They’re usually the ones not enjoying themselves (well, I guess you could say that the rest of the year too). At the time of year when the rest of the office winds down, with the exception of the execs driving towards the year-end chequered flag at break neck speed, the lawyers wind up (and get wound up).
While the Communications and Marketing teams tune in Spotify to their Christmas playlists, the only music the lawyers get to listen to is the hold muzak on the numerous conference calls they’ll be dialling into during the December run-in.
As the sales teams stumble between client lunches to the sounds of laughter, the lawyers only get to enjoy black humour engendered by the knowledge that what should be the most fun month of the year isn’t meant for them.
While the IT team worry about how long the free bar will hold for at the office party, the lawyers worry about how much work they are not doing by being there and how tired they will be the next day as the latest round of drafting summons them from their slumber.
And as the office gets deserted increasingly early, the lawyers get left alone in darkened, desolate conference rooms feel increasingly lonely negotiating clauses that no-one else but them will read.
Whilst we all shudder the first time we hear Slade’s Noddy announce that ‘IT’s CHRIIIIISTMAS!’, the lawyers almost break-down, knowing what the month is going to bring for them.
One thought keeps the lawyers going during these dark December nights. The thought that next year, it won’t be like this, they’ll have changed the way they work, gained more control, learned to dictate the timetable, resourced things differently, forced clients to help themselves more, and just generally taken a big picture January review of the changes they will make so that next year is easier. It will be better next year, they say.
Maybe they even believe it.
Except usually, that thought gets lost the moment the monster deal is inked or the revenue targets have been hit or (most usually) the non-lawyers decide they want to stop for Christmas after all and stop answering their emails.
The lawyers breathe, crank up their Amazon shopping basket (Prime account, obv), shoot to Waitrose for the organic three bird roast, grab the Hunters for the mandatory Boxing Day walk, chuck a load of money at the Boden sale (you can never have too many chequered garments in your casual wardrobe), fall asleep on the sofa as Jools plays out New Years Eve and before they know it, they’re back at it, the horrors of the December run-in forgotten once more for another 11 months.
Remember folks, a lawyer is for life, not just for Christmas. Be nice to yours this December. And remind them this year, just to hold that thought they had about making things better for next.