Thus far we’ve looked at holiday gifts from the perspective of the giver. What (or how much) did you give to your secretary this year? Is it appropriate to get a present for your boss (and if so, what)? How about some holiday gift ideas for other lawyers in your life?
But it’s not really better to give than to receive, is it? As we know from our coverage of lawyer compensation and bonuses, our readers
are greedy SOBs like getting as much as giving. So here’s an open thread for discussion of your favorite gifts from this holiday season. (I’m wearing one of mine right now — a toasty fleece that my cousin got me from Uniqlo.)
When it comes to Christmas / holiday gifts from professional contacts, folks at firms do fine. When I was at a firm, I’d get small gifts — a bottle of wine, a Tiffany money clip — from vendors hired by the firm for various projects.
But in-house readers probably make out the best in this season, since they get gifts from law firms with big budgets. In fact, the idea for this post came from an in-house reader: “[W]hy not have a holiday schwag column to show what in-house counsel are getting from firms this season? It may be an interesting contrast to the bonus (or lack thereof) news you’ve been reporting on.”
This reader got the ball rolling with the story of a pretty sweet gift he got from a law firm he gives work to….
A sweet gift indeed:
For example, one of my Biglaw firms just sent me a GIANT piece of dark chocolate (about the size of a smartcar) with the firm’s name embossed on the chocolate and all over the package. Haven’t heard their bonus numbers, but I know they’ve laid off associates over the past 18 months.
Others have gone the traditional route with a bottle of wine. Some have just sent a card.
Sending out gigantic chocolate bars while laying off associates and staff might not seem very nice. But at the end of the day, giving lavish gifts to corporate counsel is just a business decision by the law firm. As he munches his way through that enormous hunk of chocolate, the in-house lawyer will be thinking of the firm that sent it to him — and if he needs outside counsel during that time, the firm will be on his mind. As our in-house columnist Mark Herrmann advised law firms:
[S]tay gently in touch. To retain you, I must think of you on the day I’m picking counsel. If I’ve forgotten that you exist, then I won’t think of you and won’t retain you. Don’t be a pest, but don’t let me forget about you.
Giving gifts, especially gifts that it will take the in-house lawyer weeks to eat his way through, are a way of reminding the client of your existence.
Here at Breaking Media, we receive the occasional gift. For deliveries, as well as tips sent in via snail mail, please note our new address: 611 Broadway, Suite 907D, New York, NY 10012.
Alas, swag is not distributed equally in our offices. Our colleagues at Fashionista, Lauren Sherman and Leah Chernikoff, are the clear winners in this department. They’ve been showered with gifts for weeks: copious quantities of chocolate (which they’ve kindly shared), lavish coffee table books, coveted handbags, and even disposable panties (not moist, never moist).
This might not be surprising, since as we all know from The Devil Wears Prada, gifts fly fast and furious in fashion. But even Bess Levin of Dealbreaker got a huge box of assorted cheeses from Artisanal, sent to her by a secret admirer.
Meanwhile, with one exception — a bottle of wine sent to us by Joshua Stein, the former Latham & Watkins partner who now has his own firm (and who was recently named one of the world’s top 10 real estate lawyers) — your Above the Law editors didn’t get anything. One reader promised to send us a case of Four Loko, but it was yanked from shelves before he was able to act.
But look, we’re not complaining. We’re just glad we no longer get (very many) envelopes full of white powder. And random letters from deranged pro se litigants, complaining to us that the judges who sentenced them are “above the law.”
Anyway, enough about us. What gifts made you happy this holiday season? Let us know, in the comments — or if you have a particularly remarkable story, feel free to email us. Cheers!