'Tis the Season
I'm going to be taking a break from blogging for the holidays. I'll be back on January 2.
In keeping with the holiday season, the last thing I'm going to talk about today is law. Well, legal cases, anyway. I figured that a 4th District decision on the intricacies of traffic stops takes a distant third behind the two things foremost on your mind: what you're going to get, and what you're going to give. So, as usual, I'm here to help you out.
In the category of what to give, Larry Bodine over at his Law Marketing blog advises that "lawyers need to send 'status obvious' gifts to clients." Those do not include t-shirts or other clothing items monogrammed with your law firm's initials or name, which can easily wind up in the bins over at the thrift shop; as Larry aptly notes, "there's nothing worse than seeing a homeless guy wearing your law firm baseball cap." On the other hand, Larry's suggestions are not for the faint of heart, or light of wallet: No. 8 on the list is a "Red Envelope Asian money tree in a sculptural pot." What the hell is that, you ask? This. (Remember, our motto at The Briefcase: We Google so you don't have to.) It's sixty-five bucks, and that may not include the "sculptural pot," so if you're planning on getting these for your clients, it'd be a good idea to have a money tree of your own.
As for gifts to others who might be on your list, like, oh... judges, you'd better check out this ethics opinion the killjoys at the Utah courts handed down almost 20 years ago. (It's the only thing I could find on the subject, but then again, I didn't look real hard.) After careful reflection, they decided that it would be improper for a judge to accept a Christmas gift from an attorney, but that "other court employees may accept Christmas gifts of a nominal value." And no, a sixty-five dollar money tree is not "nominal value." Don't even think it.
Now, what about family, particularly the kids? Say you've got three of them, and they're all talking about following in Daddy's (or Mommy's) footsteps, which means that you're going to be shelling out enough money for law school tuition to fund a military coup in a mid-sized banana republic. Why do that when for a mere $14.95 each you can give them Law School in a Box, which features, among other items, "10 Heroes of the Courtroom Trading Cards" -- like Abe Lincoln, Johnnie Cochran, Sandra Day O'Connor -- "with portraits and famous quotes on baseball-style trading cards." Beats having to spend your post-retirement days saying, "Welcome to Wal-Mart!" or "Would you like to supersize your order?"
Then again, let's not forget that most important person: You! There's always a spate of techno-gadgets -- PDA's, I-phones, etc. -- which if they don't allow you to be more efficient, will at least make you look more important, and isn't that half the battle? On the more practical side, if you're working for one of the big law firms, you'll find the "Classic Billable Hour Watch" indispensable, for obvious reasons: instead of that old sixty-minute thing, it conveniently divides the dial into tenths of an hour.
And, on the lighter and more personal (and cheaper) side, you can always order a coffee mug from CafePress, with one of about twenty law-related cartoons engraved on it. I thought this one was quite fitting for me:
Have a good holiday, and I'll see on the 2nd.