Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A Christmas "Personal Injury" Carol......

Im feeling quite festive today, mainly because I unwittingly discovered my secret pressie from the missus hidden in the wardrobe. It was poorly concealed under a mountain of ironing, three cardboard boxes and behind a secret panel. It only took three hours to dig out and Ive told my other alf that she really shouldnt leave things lying around like that.

So after using my new superduper braun multi functional shaver I sat and thought about what xmas means to your average web hungry PI lawyer. I stress the web hungry bit because those that operate on the internet and rely on same for business tend to have a slightly different outlook to those gifted work from "traditional" sources. Here's what December usually holds in store for those with a high ranking PI website (and no doubt a million other business websites):

The first 10 days of December are pretty normal - business as usual you might say. Silly season gearing up but not yet in full swing. Enquiry levels are at usual levels and everythings hunkydory

Come the middle of the month and things start to slow. Less phone calls, less online forms being completed. You still get your nutters who want to sue their employer for a slip on a greasy floor 20 years ago but generally there is a tail off.

So you get your team to dig out their diaries and do a bit of housekeeping. There is a lull in CFA discussions and advice on how we dont charge a client but have to say in writing that we will charge because otherwise we breach the indemnity principle which has to be the biggest load of bollocks ever cooked up even by lawyers. I could go on about the CFA and all its failings but wont.

Come the 20th of the month you really are scratching your arse and trying to keep busy. Post slows down so you have less to browse thru and respond to. Less letters going out, less coming in = less to do across the department. The cunning members of your team look busier than they actually are. The numpties dont know any better and sit there messing around until you clip them. By now youre ready for the final bell

You then crawl towards xmas eve, still a trickle of enquiries and the usual "didnt know lawyers worked on xmas eve" comments - dont worry pal were off for a nice ten day break anytime soon

As the final bell approaches you break the news to the poor sod who is manning the helpline during the holiday. The face drops, the eyes roll as they realise they have been handed a job that will totally screw their holiday. But its necessary and as luck would have it - there will be two hand picked individuals selected for the task. So the poor guy (or gal) can gain a crumb of comfort in the knowledge that some other sucker also has a fcked up holiday.

You hand the mobiles containing the main office redirects to the lucky twosome and then you sod off on your holidays - grinning as superiors often do to themeselves knowing they just dealt a savage blow to a junior. Ok its not savage but it aint nice and they wont be thanking you for it (not until next year when they realise it was a learning experience and they gained some vital brownie points)

xmas day comes and goes and with web traffic down to a trickle - usually oddly enough - an American trickle. Boxing day equally neutral.

Now the 27th comes and THINGS START TO GET INTERESTING. Here's why.

The poor sods looking after the helpline suddenly get busy. I know theyre busy because I got MI - thats management information to you unitiated folks out there and its bleedin good. I know when they fail to respond to a call over a period of time and even when they take a poo. Our website says open for christmas and we most certainly are. Or rather THEY are

The phones go mad because there is no other firm open and the guy that fell on boxing day just has to deal with his case now. He cant wait one week for the new legal year to begin.

I kid you not - there is absolutely huggins of legal business to be done around the 27th - 30th December yet for some reason few firms bother to open or have a skeleton staff on to accommodate the prospective clients. These people are so damn happy to get a lawyer over the phone during the holiday that youve nailed them. They aint going anywhere else.

By the time the 30th comes around the support staff are so pissed at how busy theyve been that they start ignoring a few calls and delay responding to emails / forms etc. Only I know theyre doing it so I send a mail. They have one more miserable day before finally on the 31st Dec it all goes quiet again.

New years Eve and New Years day are dead. This year I see we are back on the 2nd Jan so once these poor guys get to 31/12 theyve made it through to the other side.

So the moral of the story is:

PI on the internet dont stop for christmas - nor do most other legal business areas in my experience. The difference is you probably dont know how much your missing out on.

Go on - be a scrooge - have a junior work xmas for you. It will be an experience they will never forget and they will hate you for life. But believe me you WILL get business and give your New Year volumes a much needed boost

more xmas ramblings to follow - its our party next week.

Dont you just love this time of year?!!

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