Here comes Santa Claus; here come Santa Claus; right down Santa Claus Lane…
Jingle Bells; jingle bells; jingle all the way…
All I want for Christmas, is you!
These are the songs which are ingrained in your heads around this time of year; whether you celebrate Christmas or not.
These are the songs you hear on the radio, in the grocery store, or at your local shopping mall. These are also the songs which you hear while on hold waiting to speak with your personal injury lawyer.
So, while the who world is gearing up for the holidays, your personal injury law firm is no different. They too are gearing up for the holidays.
With this instalment of the Toronto Injury Lawyers Blog, I will share with you a little behind the curtain action of what goes on at a typical (or atypical) personal injury law firm around the holiday season.
1. Settlements, Settlements and More Settlements.
For whatever reason, a disproportionately high amount of cases settle in December, in particular, in the last 2 weeks of December. There are a lot of theories for this; but none have been confirmed by any official source. These are only theories based on conversations with insurance adjusters, lawyers and industry insiders. There is a belief that insurers want to clear their books as best they can for the new fiscal year; which means a push to get files settled before the new year. Perhaps insurance companies, their adjusters and their lawyers get into the holiday spirit and become more sympathetic, kind and generous around the holiday season. Perhaps it’s just the normal cycle of a personal injury case. For whatever reason, December has always been a busy month at Goldfinger Injury Lawyers for getting cases settled, and that trend has continued in 2022.
2. Secret Santa and Gift Exchanges
Everyone likes a nice gift! Personal injury lawyers and the staff which work at a personal injury law firm are no different. They like giving and receiving gifts too! Most personal injury offices I have see run some sort of Secret Santa or gift exchange around this time of year. Gifting an appropriate gift presents the same anxieties and worries as it would in any ordinary work environment. What do you get for person “X”? Person “X” has everything already! Will person “X” appreciate the humour in a humourous gift, or be insulted? The gifter does not want to appear cheap, uncaring, or like s/he hasn’t put any thought behind the gift. Getting the right gift, at the right price point is important and has been the cause of panic and anxiety for many. So, rest assured that you are not alone in getting the perfect gift. Pro tip: Ask the person (or someone close to them) to whom you are giving a gift what their interests are or what they would like. It never hurts to ask. And it’s really disappointing to learn that the gift you put so much thought behind was already in that person’s collection; thereby duplicating what they already have.
3. Holiday Parties
During the Pandemic and the lockdowns, there were none, or very limited holiday gatherings. This was sad. The law firm holiday party is back and people are enjoying the company and comradery of their co-workers once again. It’s great to see and helps build a sense of pride, unity and family amongst the law firm’s employees.
4. Time off
There is a rule at Goldfinger Injury Lawyers that at no time can all of the lawyers be off on vacation at the same time; thereby leaving the office without a lawyer. Many personal injury law firms also have the same protocol. What can happen is that personal injury lawyers have to compete with each other for reserving prime time off. These vacation bookings can get tricky depending on the internal makeup of the personal injury law firm. Nonetheless, even personal injury lawyers need time off to rest and recharge their batteries for the battles to come. Some personal injury lawyers don’t check work emails at all during their vacation. Others are plugged in. There was a time before email when if the lawyer was out of the office, it was nearly impossible to get a hold of him or her. But nowadays, it’s quite easy. So just because your personal injury lawyer is on holiday, there is a good chance you will be able to reach him/her in the event of emergency. At the very least, you can leave the personal injury lawyer a voice message or email, and they will get back to you upon their return from holiday.
5. Auditing of Files and File Prep for the New Year
You blink, the holidays are over, and the new year has started. There is no easing back in to things. The Courts don’t care that you are just getting back from a warm weather family vacation. The wheels of justice keep turning and don’t slow down. Note: the wheels of justice stopped for COVID and caused the Courts to close down completely. Another note: the wheels of justice turn very slowly, even on a good day. But other lawyers and insurers don’t care very much about your feelings. Or, to put it a better way: they will care about your feelings when others are watching so as to create a public display of goodwill/good faith.
It’s important for personal injury lawyers to do an internal audit of their files so they can assess what needs to be done for the upcoming year to move the file along. Some assessments take many months to book. And then it takes many months after that to get a report generated from an expert. It can take months, if not years to get a mediation, Pre-Trial or Assignment Court date to get a trial date. Unfortunately, things don’t happen instantaneously in the world of personal injury law. Many elements of the case take months to book. The end result is the product of hundreds of hours of work.