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Question of the Week

Will You Cut Back or Cut Loose This Holiday Season?

Posted Nov 19, 2008 12:48 PM CDT
By Molly McDonough

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Thanksgiving is around the corner, and winter holidays aren't far behind. Lawyers and law firms often commemorate these festive occasions with a generous helping of bonuses, extravagant parties and expensive gifts for clients and staff. But the economy may dampen holiday spirits as we close 2008 and open to a New Year.

We learned this week that some firms are opting for cheaper wines for clients and staff. And while White & Case was locked in to their party in Manhattan, it plans to forgo fireworks. But Texas lawyer Mark Lanier plans to live it up, with Miley Cyrus, aka Hannah Montana, performing at his annual bash which is doubling as a fundraiser for children in Guatemala.

This made us wonder what you're expecting this season. So tell us ...

How do you and your colleagues plan to celebrate the holidays? Are you cutting back and finding creative but less expensive ways to celebrate? Or are you scraping together the cash to party like it's 1999?

Answer in the comments below.

Read last week's Q&A about striking out on your own.

Our favorite answer from last week:

Posted by Ron Mason: "Job security is best defined by your ability to get the next job. Considering the economy today and the layoffs we read about, the first thing any lawyer in a big firm should always consider is a “what if” and plan accordingly.

As for me, I was a labor law partner in a large law firm in Columbus Ohio for a very long time. In that time I built up a practice and clients that were really independent of my firm. At the age of 50 I looked at my life and said I either do this now or I stay where I am at and retire.

As a risk taker, I left. Resigned my partnership, leased space and started my own firm. Within 2 months I was looking for an associate. Seven years later, I have a firm of 4 lawyers, 2 labor consultants, one full time office manager and two part time people who help in clerical matters.

What I have learned from this: 1) You do not have to be located “down town” to keep corporate clients; 2) You do not need full-time accountants, IT people, and all the other trappings of a large firm; 3) You do not need the overhead of full-time secretaries for each lawyer.

The large law firms have way too much overhead. There is real money to be made in a small practice with the right corporate clients."


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