On the twelve days of Christmas, my colleagues gave to me…
So you’re coming to the end of another year as an all-singing, all-dancing independent lawyer and things haven’t gone too badly so far, but don’t count your chickens (or geese) yet. Danger lies ahead – the Christmas season looms.
As a lawyer with multiple hats, it’s time to make sure you’re earning your compliance officer stripes; let’s risk assess the joy out of Christmas, snuff out spontaneity and spread caution amongst your fellow man.
Twelve plumbers plumbing
Maybe I’m just unlucky, but I’ve been comprehensively flooded twice, the first time in a listed building with an ancient central heating system, the second in a large, all mod-cons purpose built office. It can happen to you but it doesn’t have to: think office maintenance, cold-weather protection and business continuity.
Eleven deadlines broken
Will you have adequate staff cover over Christmas? Check your limitation / key dates calendar now for deadlines between mid-December and early January. Make a concerted effort to meet those deadlines early. It’s bad enough working at Christmas without having to cover other peoples’ deadlines – and risky.
Ten lawyers leaping
Christmas is a time for self-reflection – beware the New Year resolution to find a better job. This year, make sure your valued staff feel valued, especially if you’re in the Dolomites while they’re sat at their desks.
Nine ladies twerking
…and inappropriate behaviour at the Christmas party generally. Enough said.
Eight partners missing
And so it came to pass that the equity partners did go forth on their Christmas holidays, leaving their staff holding the (swaddling) baby. And their staff were much aggrieved and their clients were not impressed. Need I say more?
Seven staff a-swooning
For ‘tis the season of coughs, colds and ‘flu. According to the HSE, sickness absence costs employers £495 a year in direct costs for every worker employed. You can arrange corporate ‘flu jabs for your staff for as little as £8 a go if you’re covering 10 staff, or you can encourage your employees to get an individual jab from £12 plus. The only way you’ll find out whether it’s worthwhile is to give it a go and then measure this year’s sickness absence against the last. Also, and I realise this is contentious, can sickly staff work from home rather than spread their virus around?
Six drunken minors
No-one wants an irate father on the phone demanding to know why his 16 year old daughter drank herself insensible at your Christmas party. Make sure you know which members of staff (including interns and work experience students) are under 18 and take appropriate steps to spoil their fun.
Five golden rings
Five unanswered phone calls from that corporate prospect you’ve been cultivating for months. They tested: you failed. See also eight partners missing and seven staff a-swooning.
Four broken bones
I really wanted to do Four call girls, but it’s too risqué. So instead, I’ll remind you to vet any venues you’ve booked for Christmas events and beware:
- The death trap dance floor – my particular favourite had a ten inch gulley down the middle: total carnage
- Ice rinks and alcohol – do I really need to spell it out?
Three French pens
OK, so Montblanc pens are German, but they’re still expensive. So why are they being accepted as gifts on that African mine acquisition? ‘Tis the season to remind staff of your Gifts & Hospitality policy.
Two laptops lost
It’s going to happen. Lost laptops and missing mobiles are a fact of life, especially at Christmas. Make sure yours are password protected, properly encrypted and, if possible, can be remotely wiped. Are you using a great security system? Let us know in the comment section below.
And the theft of a Christmas tree
For 364 days a year, the senior partner is sensible, sombre, and serious. For one night only, he transforms into the Christmas Pimpernel; his mission to liberate the largest tree he can smuggle under his overcoat. Leave this one alone. Some Christmas traditions are inviolate and, anyway, it’s good for staff morale.
Wise men and women of England and Wales, I call on you to rise to these festive challenges, and your reward shall be great indeed.
All the best from LexisNexis and the Business of Law Blog for 2014 and beyond!