This week the staff asked when we are closing for Christmas. They want to make plans, and why not? They usually do this but at least have the decency to wait until fairly close to the holiday season. If it was left to me of course I would say they have to stay for the senior partner’s annual motivational talk at 5pm on Christmas Eve, which is sadly not well attended.

We tend to wish our lives away, which brings me to the indemnity renewal season that seems, like Christmas, to start earlier every year. The proposal to have one form for all brokers and companies has really not really taken off. This is a pity as it would save a lot of unnecessary repetition. However, some brokers will accept a copy of another company’s form which at least is helpful.

We should start early and send these things off like Christmas cards; but hardly any come back with the kind of figures we want. The number of brokers increases as presumably this is quite lucrative work. Lots of brokers chasing less money. It is interesting filling in the Areas of Practice part of the form as it gives a description of how the firm has changed over the years.

Fewer types of work undertaken – yippee, the firm moving more from legal aid to private – double yippee. I like the faintly menacing questions such as: ‘Has there been a significant change in your practice? Do you expect one?’ There are long lists of bad things which you may have done in a previous life and which we all thought at the time were a good thing. They might as well ask: ‘Are you or have you ever been a member of the communist party?’

Serious tips:

  • Start early and get all relevant info together.
  • Ask brokers who they actually represent.
  • Try to get a two-year deal.
  • Hope for the best.
  • Happy Christmas.

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