This was originally published on the JurisPage blog. It is republished here with permission.
With the holidays approaching, it’s getting to be the season for company holiday cards. I know, it’s probably your single favorite thing about the holidays: sending and receiving generic, non-denominational cards reading “Happy Holidays From XYZ Law Firm, LLP”.
As custom dictates, your firm should send a conservative, non-offensive holiday card to your clients, colleagues, and referral sources to thank them for putting up with you for the past year.
Since there are a lot of etiquette issues surrounding holiday cards, we’ve taken the time to write this guide on everything you need to know about sending holiday cards.
Where to Get Them
Sites like Vistaprint were made for this. You can order custom cards in large quantities very inexpensively.
Moreover, do yourself a favor and get a coupon. Vistaprint has about 300 different promotions running at any given time. Do a quick search for “Vistaprint coupon” in your favorite search engine (except AOL.com), and you’ll probably find a coupon that gets you 25-50% off your order total. For two minutes of work on your part, you can save anywhere from $20-$200. Take the time to get that coupon; your billable hour isn’t that high.
What Design Should You Choose
You could always put a picture of the staff at your business. That’s definitely personal. It’ll also cost more though.
Don’t have time for being original? Vistaprint has tons of templates to choose from. Try and pick a card design that won’t be chosen by every other business sending cards to the same contacts as you. One year, I received three of the same Hallmark card design from different businesses. It’s like all my colleagues went card shopping together to save in bulk.
What Message Should the Card Contain?
You’re thinking about this too much. The message isn’t nearly as important as the fact that you sent it at all. Your contacts are receiving dozens of holiday cards and most likely won’t read them more than once in a passing gaze.
Try this: “Dear X, It’s been a pleasure to do business with you this year. Wishing you a healthy and happy holiday and a prosperous new year. Cordially, Y Law Firm”
Done. Next question?
What About More Expensive Gifts?
For some contacts, you may want to opt to send more than a greeting card. For colleagues sending a substantial amount of business your way, it may be more appropriate to show your appreciation with a gift. The value of the gift may be in proportion to the value of the business they have sent you over the last year. And if they send you less business this year than last year, send them a less valuable gift this time around. That will give them the hint that you are simultaneously appreciative of their business, yet disappointed in them for not delivering as big for you.
How to Receive and Display Holiday Cards
Upon receiving a holiday card from a contact, you are obligated to display it in public view in your office until January 2. The more cards you collect and display, the more it impresses your visitors. Visitors see the cards and think, “Wow, other people must actually like this company!”
Cards must promptly be removed on January 2. For each day after January 2 that the cards are left on public display, you shall receive 1 unsettling call from a tax collector looking for an excuse to audit you. Be warned.
Bonus: How to Violate Ethics Rules with Holidays Cards
I know what you may be thinking now: “I want to send out cards and gifts, but I’m also looking to violate the ethical rules of my jurisdiction. How can I do both at the same time?” Glad you asked that oddly specific question. Just brainstorming here, there are a few ways:
One: If you are looking to cause a little mischief this year, send a judge presiding over one of your pending cases a holiday card. And mention in the card that your client is innocent because of this new evidence you uncovered. Local Rule 3.1 says that messages inside holiday cards are not ex parte communications.
Two: Send holiday cards to recently admitted hospital patients to wish them well, and also ask to represent them in their personal injury lawsuits. Ethics rules on solicitation and advertising don’t apply to holiday cards. I’d like to see an ethics committee write a disciplinary opinion saying, “We find that the inappropriate content of the holiday card violated Rule 7.2 of the Rules of Professional Conduct. Attorney X is hereby suspended for 6 months and may not send out holiday cards ever again.”
Properly sending and receiving holiday cards are a vital part of running a business.
Featured Image via Ron Ross