Exclusively revealed: lawyers' resolutions for 2007

Times Online, January 05, 2007

Thanks to law.com, I learn that a US lawyer is claiming partial success in one resolution she made last year. Allison Hoffman, the Vice President, General Counsel of ALM Media, resolved at the beginning of 2006 to spend more time with her beagles. Ms Hoffman says that this noble aim met with success insofar as she was with her beagles "on weekends".

This, to a lawyer’s forensic eye, begs a question. What of the beagles on weekday evenings? While not suggesting that Ms Hoffman neglected her beagles in any way, has she not read Beagle Secrets, the book that, as its publishers say breathlessly, is "like getting a back-stage pass to the real world of beagles"? I confess that I’ve yet to familiarise myself with all of the book’s exciting tips, but I’d wager that one of them is that you don’t just see your beagles when the clients are on the golf course. I bet that the book says: "Spend time during the week with your beagles, lest they become disaffected and seek a new lawyer."

So, Ms Hoffman, please read Beagle Secrets and, however busy you are, renew your resolution in 2007. Your beagles need you.

Meanwhile, to show that the scribes at law.com are not the only ones privy to lawyers’ new year resolutions, allow me to exclusively reveal some for 2007 from the firm of Clochard, Clichy, Bassett and Basenji.

Thomas Mercier, trainee solicitor: arrive early every day and leave later than everyone else. Ensure that even if I am not in the office, my jacket hangs neatly from my chair. Organise social events until I know I’ve got a job offer, even though I think they are a complete waste of time and loathe being with my colleagues. Do not, on any account, buy a dog.

Franklin Camier, newly qualified solicitor: arrive on time every day and leave quite late. Speak only when spoken to, but remember their bark is worse than their bite. Consider the political efficacy of getting engaged – are the partners more or less likely to fire me if I have a serious partner? Do not, unless necessary for career advancement, buy a dog.

David James Godot, solicitor: arrive earlier than ever, work late and on weekends, forget any hope of ever having a life. Tell the wife that the dog has to go, or she walks the bloody thing, even in the rain.

Melissa Watt, senior solicitor: strive ever upwards. At this point I am so hopelessly trapped in a cycle of debt, compromise, mortgage payments and the end of idealism that there is no alternative. Buy a dog to bring cheer to my life – a bassett or a beagle. I wonder if Mr Bassett has a bassett hound? How funny that would be!

Julia Molloy, young, pretty paralegal temp:Never, ever work in the law. What’s all this about dogs?

Max Krapp, graduate in English, surly, paralegal temp: do a law conversion course. I can’t let them treat me like this anymore. Even a dog has more dignity. I will become one of them and, having done so, eclipse them. Why is everyone snarling?

Michael Endon, associate: read The Hound of the Beaglevilles.

Alexander Murphy, partner: for my part, I’ve reached that time in my life where I’d like to contribute meaningfully to society in a way hitherto impossible owing to the contingencies of modern partnership practise. I would like to spend more time with my cats.

Beagle J. Bassett, senior partner: None of my best friends are cats, and there is no place for them in this firm, even when they are not here. Go away and come back when you’ve made a proper resolution.