How to Use Your December Downtime


Not everyone will have a lull in December —I’m looking at you, lawyers whose practice is focused on a January–December fiscal year —but many associates will. Clients and partners will be on extended holidays. Senior associates will duck out and return hours later with shopping bags, shaking off their umbrellas. That’s the holiday season for many lawyers.

So what should you do with your time? Finish your work, obviously – but also take this time to assess and invest in your path forward. How can you do that?

- Meet with recruiters and pick one to work with in the future. This is a time when sneaking out for a coffee is less noticeable. Set some meetings with 1-2 of the recruiters whose emails have caught your eye, and put a face to the name. You can get a touch of career advice, figure out who you want to work with, a make the first step into building that relationship.

-       Make a three-year plan. I think a detailed five-year plan feels ambitious for most people at the beginning and middle of practice. Sit down and figure out the following:

  • In three years, do you still want to be at a firm (and if so, this firm or another)?o  Do you still want to be in this geographical area?
  • Do you want to be working the way you’re working now or differently (i.e., want to stay somewhere similar or do something like move to a boutique)?
  • Imagine yourself in your chair, in your office, reporting to the same partners in three years. How does it feel?

-       Network. Go to the holiday parties you’re invited to in your professional capacity—within reason. You never know how a casual connection might lead to something really remarkable down the road. One of my candidates recently accepted an offer from a partner she first met in an elevator. Kismet happens at work, too.

-       Rest. Coming into 2019 recharged is one of the best things you can do for yourself professionally. Whether you’re planning to make a run where you are, or make a move, try to take advantage of the quiet moments to steel yourself for January.

I’d be delighted to meet you in December. Let me know if you’d like to set something up! Send me a private message or email me at 



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