THE CHAIR’S CORNER: Holiday Management and Looking Ahead to 2014

Vol. 30 No. 6

By

Hon. Jennifer A. Rymell (jarymell@msn.com) is Chair of the GPSolo Division. She is a Civil County Court at Law Judge in Texas.

It is hard to believe that the holiday season is upon us again. I have to admit that I always wonder where did the year ago and how did the holidays sneak up on me? I realize that I start getting Halloween costume catalogs right after the Fourth of July, but it never fails that I am the one paying the extra money for two-day shipping on October 29 so that my son does not have to suffer the embarrassment of trick-or-treating in a costume that Mommy made—especially when Mommy has never been known as particularly handy with a needle and thread.

For me the struggle to balance work, family, professional, and community activities is a challenge that I face all year long. However, during the holidays, with added obligations, it can turn a joyful time into a chaotic one. In addition to all the holiday festivities, we are also thinking about January 1 and all the things we need to do to start the year off right. Part of that is making New Year’s resolutions that we swear we will keep this year and thinking about the tax man whose deadlines also seem to sneak up on us.

This is why I am so excited about this holiday-themed issue of GPSolo magazine. It focuses on managing your holidays and presents topics to be cognizant of in the New Year. The Editorial Board has done a great job of featuring articles that address practical concerns such as “How to Market Your Practice During the Holidays,” as well as fun articles dealing with “Perils and Pitfalls of the Office Holiday Party” and “New Year’s Resolutions.” Also, we could not have a holiday issue without our popular annual “Techno-Gift Guide.” Who doesn’t salivate over all those great gadgets?

Holiday Tech VS. Holiday Traditions

Every time I look at the “Techno-Gift Guide,” I am reminded of how different gift shopping is now for my child versus when I was his age. One of my family’s holiday traditions was having the children make their wish lists of gifts the day after Thanksgiving. I remember that as soon as I was finished with my turkey dinner I was ready for the next day to begin my work. The fun and anticipation of that event is something I will always remember. I have continued that tradition with my eight-year-old son, and he also delights in making “The List.” You know what I am talking about: “The List” that will be distributed to all family and friends and, in my case, whose contents will be whispered to the Jolly Old Elf right before my son smiles for his yearly photo.

When I was a child my parents would give my sister and me two copies of the Sears catalog and tell us to knock ourselves out. We could circle everything we wanted. I remember waiting with breathless anticipation as I was handed a copy of the catalog, and make no mistake, by the time I was finished I had managed to circle at least one item on almost every page. The apple does not fall far from the tree. However, instead of looking through a catalog, we get on the Internet and make our endless electronic wish list. We surf the net for hours to make sure that no stone is unturned at Toys “R” Us, Amazon, Target, Walmart, GameStop, etc. We look at toy store websites that are halfway across the world in search of the coolest stuff! I never imagined some 40-plus years ago that toy shopping could span the globe or that technology could make the adult toys just as much fun as those for the kids. I hope that after perusing our “Techno-Gift Guide,” you find something new for your list as well.

New Year’s Resolutions

Do you still make New Year’s resolutions, and if so, do you ever keep them? I have friends and relatives who tell me that they stopped making New Year’s resolutions years ago. I understand their point of view. Often, a New Year’s resolution does not make it through the month of January let alone to the end of December. However, I am here to say that I still make New Year’s resolutions, and in 2014 I am about to see if I can live up to mine. I have made and broken the common resolution of planning to be a few pounds lighter more times than I care to count, so I am going to try something new. My goal for the next year is to really try to be “in the moment.” It seems like a simple task, but I know that it is not. I am going to try to slow down, learn how to say “no,” and really take time to be grateful for the wonderful family, friends, and events that take place in my life. Maybe as you read our two-part article on “New Year’s Resolutions,” you will be able to think of a resolution or two that will make your life richer in 2014.

Looking Ahead

Chicago. The Division’s plans for 2014 are well under way. Our first major event is the ABA Midyear Meeting that will take place in Chicago, Illinois, February 6 to 9. Don’t be deterred by the cold weather because we are going to have a lot of hot activities! You can participate in CLE, help us honor our military leaders at the Keithe E. Nelson Memorial Military Law Luncheon, participate in a swearing-in ceremony to practice in front of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, or unwind at Division social events. Additionally, you will want to attend our Solo and Small Firm Lawyers Caucus to meet other ABA members and network with your colleagues. This caucus is an important forum where we examine issues being addressed by the ABA that are of interest to and impact solo and small firm attorneys. Our Division will be headquartered at the lovely Swissôtel Chicago.

Vegas, baby! Start planning now for the opportunity to mix business and pleasure in the entertainment capital of the world: Las Vegas, Nevada. The Division will meet May 1 to 3, 2014, in the heart of the strip at the Aria Hotel and Casino. This will be a joint event with the ABA Standing Committee on Group and Prepaid Legal Services and the Group Legal Services Association. Not only will we be offering more than 15 hours of CLE, but we will also give you an opportunity to meet face-to-face with group legal plan providers and enjoy outstanding shows, restaurants, shopping, and casinos.

Boston. The 2014 ABA Annual Meeting will take place August 7 to 12 in the beautiful and historic city of Boston, Massachusetts. The Division headquarters will be the Sheraton Boston Hotel, and you can rest assured that we will continue to provide CLE and fun events that will make your trip memorable. In your spare time you can take in a game at Fenway Park, enjoy a cruise on Boston Harbor, or explore the famous Freedom Trail. This is a meeting not to be missed, and I encourage you to put Boston on your calendar as you plan for the year ahead.

I wish all of you a joyful and safe holiday season with the ones you love. See you next year!

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