While everybody's having Christmas turkey, They bring me bread and water to eat. Christmas in jail, Christmas in jail.
We can all laugh at the perennial holiday novelty song, “Christmas in Jail.”
But for deal attorneys stuck eating midnight takeout in a conference room all December each year, is it really all that different?
Litigators’ beach vacations and holiday ski trips are not for transactional attorneys.
Thanksgiving and Christmas may be family holidays, but the tyranny of the tax code dictates otherwise.
For us, working through the holiday has always been an occupational hazard.
My firm has always had a “no vacation” policy at the end of each year.
I will never forget the complaint of a very senior attorney at a major Philadelphia law firm.
His client was buying a large business – we represented the seller – and had to move very quickly and confidentially to keep competitors from poaching key revenue producers. Every day that we didn’t close increased the risk of a leak.
As the relationship partner with a major firm client, he had to be present at all negotiating sessions – even though he missed his grandchildren’s annual family visit from California.
(Perhaps he hoped that making everyone feel sorry for him would move the deal along. It didn’t work – the deal didn’t close until the first week of January, long after everyone with whom he had wanted to spend time had flown home.)
That tragedy – that even someone at the top of the deal pyramid could not savor his limited time with his grandchildren – remains burned in my memory to this day.
I hope that I have prioritized my family time, not just in late December, but year-round. I don’t want to be remembered as the “empty chair” at the table.
Of course, the advent of the internet has eased the pain – a bit. And I don’t miss the cab rides home in the wee hours of the morning.