But with Christmas comes a whole lot of crazy. Much of it, of course, makes absolutely no sense and I’m confident that most of the time you hold your tongue in response to stupid demands made in the Christmas season.
But just in case you don’t…* here are a few truthful, but tactless, ways we could approach the more common situations that come up.
Disclaimer: this article is a little cynical. If you take it seriously then… I honestly don’t know what to do with you.
The Pre-Christmas Trial
It’s the ultimate nightmare. You’ve gone and told the Court that everyone was “ready for trial”, totally sure in the knowledge that it wouldn’t actually be listed for another 6 months.
The Judge, kindly soul that she is, says “as it turns out Mr Hargreaves, we have a 2 day trial slot on 20 and 21 December – we’ll see you then.”
As the colour drains from both your face and that of your tolerably polite opponent of the day, here’s the response you definitely shouldn’t say:
well your Honour, as I and my learned friend both know, the Court is notoriously slow and pathetic at listing trials in a timely fashion, and so a general understanding has been reached between all and sundry that “ready for trial” in fact means “will be ready for trial when hell freezes over and the Court finally manages to get around to setting it down”, and so while my submission made earlier about the readiness of the parties was strictly true, it needs to be interpreted in the context of that generally understood and appreciated proposition that the Court is painfully slow at dealing with matters swiftly… so next May would be fine thank you your Honour.
I Need the Documents Before Christmas
As yes. A last minute instruction has come in, and you need to prepare an advice, a letter, a contract.
Your client, conscious of their own deadlines, asks for it before Christmas.
Well Bruce, you and I both know that if I send them to you before Christmas that you’re going to be more pickled than a cucumber for the next 6 weeks, especially since you’re going on yet another cruise to a place that serves drinks in coconuts with umbrellas in them, so how about I ignore your request since we both know you’re not capable of reading anything until February at the earliest
That’s OK… Just Settle in the First Week Back
Some clients consider your needs, and thinking that perhaps the pre-Christmas period is going to get a bit hectic they offer this kindness – to push it to the first week back.
Thanks Lucy, I really appreciate that. After all, property settlements pretty much just handle themselves, and finalising everything the first day back to settle on day 2 is completely possible, bearing in mind that all the maths will have changed, the banks will be closed and if not they’ll be surly, the other parties will still be hungover from their New Year’s bash and I have 67 other transactions that week. But sure, I’d love to come in on boxing day to do settlement adjustment calculations just so I can pretend that I can pull your entire thing together the minute I turn up in the New Year.
Could You Please Work Over Christmas?
Ah yes – the skeleton staff.
After all, it’s important that urgent things get handled over Christmas and while most are on their break, some few are often left in the office to play cricket in the halls and catch up on their reading. After all, what else would they rather do?
Well Jo, much as I’d love to look after your client while you’re uncontactable in your Tuscan villa, unfortunately I actually have a life of my own and since you’re the idiot who promised your client we’d be here, perhaps it’s you who should rearrange your plans to suit rather than assuming I was going to?
The Long Delay
Email – 23 December. “Hey there Justine – thanks for your advice on 16 August. I’m sorry it’s taken a while to get back to you. We think what you say makes total sense and want to get an offer out ASAP please.”
Yo Drew! Great to hear from you. It took me a minute to remember you, because in fact my auto-archive settings had sent all of your emails to the great “ex-client” facility in the sky. I’ll have to hire someone who was trained in the 80s to figure out how to retrieve your files, and will do so ASAP. Best current estimate is that I’ll have your offer out before the Jetsons become a reality show. Trust that’s OK.
The Urgent Application
Every. Single. Year.
“Oh no we’ve just been served with this stuff, what happens now and what are we supposed to do?”
Sigh. Of course, often this isn’t anyone on our side of the fence’s fault, so our natural reaction is a little more sympathetic.
Hey Dennis. Brother I’m sorry for this trouble you’ve found yourself in. It seems really unfair. The problem is that I’ve actually got a string of Christmas functions lined up this week, and it looks like you’re up for an urgent hearing on 24 December. I’d love to help you out, but honestly it’s been a long year and while I’d love to read the 2670 pages you just sent through, I was really looking forward to that salmon eggs benedict they do down the road. Could I refer you to someone I hate?
And Then… There’s What We Really Say
Sure – I can help you out.
What’s the Nature of your Medical Emergency?
Got a war story about a Christmas dilemma? Let us know in the comments!