Cover Image

January

Previous Story | Next Story

Lawyers Journal

Thoughts regarding the holidays and the new year

As I write this column in December in the midst of the holiday season, my thoughts turn to family, friends, colleagues and the imminent new year. Running and playing piano also have a prominent role.

My 30-something-year-old daughter Kate enthusiastically re-engaged in recreational and fitness running and signed me up for the Festivus 5K in Salem, held on Dec. 9. Kate and I traversed the lovely waterside course, and she beat me handily, of course, as I plodded along at a slightly under 12-minute mile pace. You can look up my time online if you wish.

More than 450 folks of all ages, sizes and shapes took part on a beautiful Sunday morning: young couples with small children in carriages; a large rugby player (notable for his rugby jersey, as costumes were encouraged); serious runners (the winner ran the course in just over 16 minutes); and a 74-year-old gentleman (the only person in the race older than yours truly).

In honor of Festivus, that delightful holiday immortalized on "Seinfeld," the race was a fundraiser for autism research. Having a severely autistic niece, as well as brothers and brothers-in-law who send me Festivus cards every year, the race resonated with me. MBA Past President Edward W. McIntyre, a very good runner, will attest to the fact that group running is both terrific exercise and a great way to socialize. Running the race with my daughter was icing on the cake.

Those of you familiar with Festivus know that part of the "holiday" is the airing of grievances. Truth be told, I am without material grievances. I certainly have petty ones, most unworthy of mention, except I note that the Festivus 5K was misnamed because Festivus is not on Dec. 9. Festivus occurs on Dec. 23. Thus, I believe the race should have been called the "Pre-Festivus 5K."

Switching from a fitness focus to a musical one, I have been honored to play piano at several holiday functions this year: the Essex Bar/Lynn Bar holiday party; a North Shore Elder Services reception/open house; and the "Old and Bold" party for baby boomer gays and lesbians. The unabashed camaraderie, diversity and strong sense of community at these events have reinforced my optimism for the future.

At the end of the year, we lawyers in private practice take stock of where we are and where we are heading, including the mundane but very important closing of firm books for the year, frequently tied to the same process many of our business clients go through. It is a hectic time for all of us in the profession. Add to that the various holiday events, family commitments and related matters, and some might term this time of year as little more than controlled chaos. Nevertheless, I find this time of year to be invigorating.

I am quite sure we all will face many challenges in the new year. Our individual and collective test will be the manner in which we face these challenges. As I continue to say and firmly believe, we all are in this together. We need to recognize and take advantage of that truism. While we do not have to agree on everything, we do have to focus on identifying and addressing core problems. Like law school education, which pays close attention to the proper identification of issues, our profession has to pay close attention to the same thing. Only by doing so will we be able to make meaningful progress toward improving what is already a wonderful profession.

I am grateful for the support and encouragement I have received from you as I have met with many of you throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

I look forward to working with all of you during the 
new year.

©2014 Massachusetts Bar Association