What to get the lawyer on your list – or in your firm – who has everything?
How about something you can’t buy at the mall or order online? Something that is unique and thoughtful. Something they might actually use.
This holiday, give them:
Time. Pull out the 2015 calendar and let every lawyer select a day – better yet, several days or a week – off work in the coming year. During this unexpected holiday they are prohibited from so much as thinking about the law. The time will not count against their regular vacation and personal leave. You will be amply repaid by having a fresh, loyal and grateful team.
Options. If you can’t see your way to giving your staff more time, how about more choices? Let them work from home on occasion. Give them the option of working five eight-hour days or four 10-hour days. Allow more movement between practice areas to keep their skills sharp and energy high.
Appreciation. It doesn’t take much. Send hand-written notes for jobs well done. Distribute gift cards for the nearby coffee shop. Buy a group membership to the local gym. Visit each employee in their work space. Ask what you can do to make their life more comfortable and productive.
A voice. Why do only the top financial stakeholders get to decide how the firm operates and where it is headed? That new associate fresh out of law school might have valuable insights into using social media for marketing. Your paralegal might have great ideas on improving workflow.
Commitment. Let them know their work is important and their presence is valued. Assure them that you are there for them. In shaky economic times, knowing that your boss is on your side is better than any goofy necktie or golf-ball paperweight.
Not to mention the ever-popular Steel Wine Caddy and Holiday Drinking Flask Set.
Lawyer PC Holiday Card
This one makes the rounds every year at this time, and it never fails to make me smile:
Please accept without obligation, explicit or implicit, our best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, politically correct, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion or secular practice of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions.
Please also accept, under aforesaid waiver of obligation on your part, our best wishes for a financially successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of this calendar year of the Common Era, but with due respect for the calendars of all cultures or sects, and for the race, creed, colour, age, physical ability, religious faith, choice of computer platform or dietary preference of the wishee.
By accepting this greeting you acknowledge that:
This greeting is subject to further clarification or withdrawal at the wishor's discretion.
This greeting is freely transferable provided that no alteration shall be made to the original greeting and that the proprietary rights of the wishor are acknowledged.
This greeting implies no warranty on the part of the wishors to fulfill these wishes, nor any ability of the wishors to do so, merely a beneficent hope on the part of the wishors that they in fact occur.
This greeting may not be enforceable in certain jurisdictions and/or the restrictions herein may not be binding upon certain wishees in certain jurisdictions and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wishors.
This greeting is warranted to perform as reasonably may be expected within the usual application of good tidings, for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first.
The wishor warrants this greeting only for the limited replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wishor.
This year’s pick is “Holiday Affair,” a 1949 romantic comedy starring Robert Mitchum and Janet Leigh. Just before Christmas, department store clerk Mitchum helps customer Leigh, a war widow and single mom. His good deed gets him fired but also sparks a relationship between the two.
Mitchum – a veteran, drifter and scruffy guy with a heart of gold – is competing for Leigh’s love with her well-groomed but jerky boyfriend, who happens to be (you guessed it!) a lawyer. Wonder who wins.
May your halls be decked and your pear trees filled with partridges. See you in 2015!
Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina and is author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World. He runs Your Law Life LLC, which helps lawyers and firms improve their well-being and create saner, more successful law lives. He is available for talks, presentations and confidential consultations.