Late Holiday Parties Are Better Than No Holiday Parties

Was 2023 the year that holiday parties fully returned to the legal profession? More lawyers told me that their firms hosted holiday parties than had held parties in the previous few years, and Above the Law also finally hosted its first holiday since 2019 (which was an epic event!). If your law firm did not have a holiday party in December, it’s not too late to kick back and host some holiday merriment even though the season has passed.

Several weeks ago, I was speaking with a lawyer friend about plans law firms had for the holiday season. She told me that her firm decided that they would host a holiday party in January rather than the usual December. At first, I was taken aback. It seems odd that people would have a party even though the holidays had passed by, and this seemed to suggest that the firm was dysfunctional in some way. However, the more I think about it, the more I believe that law firms should consider hosting holiday parties in the new year.

The holiday season can be a stressful time for everyone, including individuals within the legal profession. People often have various holiday obligations — travel, hosting family members, and other activities that consume precious and finite time and energy. It might be difficult for people to also attend work holiday parties during the holidays due to those obligations. Delaying holiday merriment until the new year might mean that legal professionals are less stressed and have more free time during the holiday season.

Many law firms use the calendar year when evaluating whether attorneys satisfied their billable-hour requirement. Delaying holiday parties would be useful to people who still have billable hour deadlines to meet toward the end of the year. Some attorneys might be eligible for a larger bonus if they bill a certain amount of hours, and that too might create substantial stress around the holidays.

Any time that is freed up around the holidays is time that attorneys can use on client tasks in order to meet billable-hour expectations or qualify for a bonus. Attorneys are not as stressed out shortly after the holidays, and people are less focused on billing hours, so this could be a better time to hold a holiday party.

Delaying holiday parties can also save law firms a ton of money. Holding a holiday party is not cheap, and law firms often spend thousands or tens of thousands, depending on the size of the firm. Planning a holiday party for December can be more expensive than at other times of the year since many employers hold parties during this time which can drive prices up. Venue prices and other costs might decrease after the holiday season, which can impact a law firm’s bottom line. In some instances, the decrease in costs associated with holding a holiday party after the new year might be the deciding factor in holding a holiday party at all.

All told, if your law firm has not yet held a holiday party, it is not too late to schedule one. Indeed, there may even be a variety of benefits to holding a party after the typical holiday season.

Rothman Larger HeadshotJordan Rothman is a partner of The Rothman Law Firm, a full-service New York and New Jersey law firm. He is also the founder of Student Debt Diaries, a website discussing how he paid off his student loans. You can reach Jordan through email at [email protected].

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