David Pickup runs us through his exhaustive list of tasks to complete before the big holiday.


Start to think about Christmas despite fact it’s been in shops for months. Write a list of Christmas cards to send to important contacts and some clients. Print off practising certificate. Wonder why no one has parties now as there used to be good police, estate agent and courts parties.


Check if the staff Christmas party has been organised. Your suggestion that staff can decide where to go if they pay for it obviously did not go down well. Print off indemnity certificate.

Remember that last year you promised to have an electronic card like everyone else. Decide to decorate room with the framed practising certificate. Buy frame but cannot find hammer or nail. Discover other firms had been invited to police, court, and estate agent parties. Four new instructions for drink driving. Better send card to police.    


Prepare witty motivational speech for staff on the last day. Overhear staff talking about secret Santa. Look at book reviews on time management. Suddenly remember to write cards to bank, and legal aid but cannot remember what LAA stands for.

Find hammer but still no nail. Cannot find practising certificate. Print another one.


Member of staff asks about Christmas bonuses. You laugh, then realise he is serious. Better send a card to the accountants. Start to write staff motivational speech. A criminal client gives your early Christmas present. Notice still has security tag attached. Decide to do honest thing and return it to shop. Nearly get arrested.

Discover too late to order gifts online. Send cards with gift tokens to local estate agents. Your nephew is one of the wise men in school nativity play. Better complete the Solicitors Regulation Authority diversity questionnaire. Client comes in charged with shoplifting. Find out that you put the name of the last-but-one bank manager on the card.

Find picture hooks but still no hammer. Cannot find practising certificate. Print another one.


Decide to do annual tidy-up of room. Go through old cabinets. Find marketing review 1999, business plan 2002, legal aid Preferred Suppliers booklet, and course notes entitled ‘Have fun with fixed fees’. Secretary asks why are you crying? Find packet of firm’s cards and start writing them. Then discover they say A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 1999.

Someone asks when they are putting up decorations. Receive a call from someone asking for you by name, not recognising the voice, then realise it is your spouse. Local estate agent phoned to thank you for card and say they thought you had retired. Better send card to local paper.

Now got hammer and picture hooks. Cannot remember why you needed them.


Last day. Few people, not many staff in. Strangely no one interested in your staff motivational speech. Just time to buy presents for own family and self. Find out local court closed three years ago.

Find decorations in cellar. Christmas lights make curious buzzing noise when turned on. Better check office insurance. Get three clients wanting to apply to court for child contact. Better send a card to the courts. Think of presents would like to get. How I made a fortune from legal aid and How to love the law.

Secretary asks why you have multiple copies of practising certificates. Remember and secretary helps put frame up. Take secretary to A&E with injured thumb. Better add her name to the card list (and get present).

David Pickup is a partner at Aylesbury-based Pickup & Scott