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Elizabeth Street
22 December, 2008  
Christmas with bite

Lizzy has to endure Christmas with her grasping rellies. In fact, the festive season is made ever more insufferable by festering law firm gloom

imageTidings of comfort and joy. In other words it’s that time of year when law firms ply their employees with alcohol as a means of acknowledging the oodles of unpaid overtime they have put in during the year.

Somehow I highly doubt I could possibly drink sufficient Tanqueray No.10 and tonic in one night to make up for all the extra money I have made for the Firm working in “my own” time.

Nonetheless, I’ll give it a try.

Last Friday, I dropped my party dress into the dry-cleaner and skipped to work excited about the prospect of my day holding something besides 6.5 billable hours.

I’ve been quite lucky this year, considering the economic downturn.

News of redundancies and cancelled Christmas parties have been the talk of the town.

A friend at the Fox indicated that there have been cuts in some departments, even knocking off fee-earners!

Clutz is among those who have cut graduate positions, leaving dazed fresh grads wandering around aimlessly in the balmy night air.

At least they thrust $10K in their eager paws before cutting them loose.

Small consolation, I say, for a wasted summer and a potentially stunted career.

There was also Allens’ celebrated cancellations of its Christmas celebrations.

I think this is more to do with not wanting to discombobulate the struggling clients, rather than any awesome financial pressures.

After all, most large law firms seem to be slightly smarter than those once-glossy banks when it comes to realising a shindig costing six figures does not project a sensitive image.

Alas, I think the big issue this holiday will be the emergence of some serious Scrooge-age.

The one thing I hate more than the billables is that every member of my family thinks that their clever little Lizzy is fantastically well paid and can turn up to Christmas lunch loaded with big, fat pressies.

Rich I am not. It’s just that junior lawyers like moi are expected to seem rich, and to sustain that deception requires a significant commitment to spending, and hence penury.

A young lawyers’ outlay on distractions, drink and other pain relievers is also expensive.

Despite this my Mum is constantly harping on: “When I was your age, the whole family survived on half the money you currently earn in a year.”

Christmas with my lot is sheer joy.

Once the Firm’s Chrissy party has spluttered to a finish, and while I’m feeling more than a little jaded, I’ll paw my way through the crowds at Myer and carefully select a series of useless bibelots that at least look expensive.

What a metaphor for the legal profession.

Frankly, as far as I can see the only thing good about Christmas is that for a brief moment in time I won’t be billing anyone.


Reader Comments

Posted by: Anonymous
Date: December 23, 2008, 6:04 pm

At least your relatives only expect expensive Christmas pressies - you don't have to face a queue of relatives who start their conversation with "It's so good that we have a lawyer in the family - because your cousin Vinnie was in a car accident/got arrested/got gipped by the insurance company/is getting divorced/had a great idea for a business/killed our neighbour's tree/cat/ and since you're family and lawyers are so expensive, do you think you could take a look at the matter for me?"