I love this time of year: the decorations, the lights, so much to do, everyone else making money, clients. In fact everyone wants everything to be done before Christmas. How I miss those seasonal contact/access applications. At least the pre-Christmas rush of people queuing outside shops to do their shoplifting has finished.
In my area of law there is a flurry of people being detained in hospitals, mirrored by the staff trying to get other patients discharged or sent home on leave. Patients refused leave all year suddenly sent home with medication and the Radio Times’ guide to films such as Great Escape and One Flew Over the Cuckoo Nest.
It is not only clients who want everything done; it is the courts and tribunals as well. And of course most people seem to be on leave. One Christmas eve I had a host of clients wanting to apply for decrees nisi. I am not sure what staff would be at court over the holiday to process them. If you have an emergency application between Christmas and new year it is surprising how many judges volunteer to go to the office presumably to get some peace and quiet.
I am trying now to get a few minutes to buy presents - and a tree - and am wondering how much I can afford on gifts for possible sources of work and which clients, if any, to send cards to.
I wonder what the future will bring the high street lawyer. New year brings new legal aid changes. But it is Christmas and one message of this time of year is hope. We are professionals and I was reminded recently we solicitors are problem solvers. We are good at adapting. So happy Christmas, and God bless us all.
David Pickup is a partner in Aylesbury-based Pickup & Scott