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ATL Holiday Card Contest: The Finalists!

The holidays may be behind us (sigh), but Above the Law’s second annual holiday card contest remains in full swing. Thanks to everyone who responded to our call for submissions. The response was overwhelming.

Perhaps too overwhelming: we received dozens and dozens of nominations. I have literally spent several hours reviewing them all — hours of my life that I can never recover. While a few firms’ holiday e-cards impressed, charmed and even delighted me, the project as a whole made me nostalgic for document review. (It wasn’t nearly as fun as reviewing the entries for our law revue video contest.)

Readers, many of you did not follow contest rule #3: “Please limit submissions to holiday / Christmas cards that you view as worthy contenders. We’re looking for cards that are unusually clever, funny, or cool; we aren’t really interested in cards that are safe.”

Alas, we received many cards that were safe. And boring. In a future post, I’ll poke fun at some of the worst ones. I’ll also give shout-outs to a few cards that were nice, but not nice enough to make the final cut. (That will be the “Honorable and Dishonorable Mentions” post.)

For now, though, let’s view — and vote on — our seven worthy finalists….

Here are the contenders, in alphabetical order, with brief explanatory blurbs.

Please note: some of these cards have SOUND, so you might want to turn your speakers off or down (depending on where you are; we decided to run this post after normal business hours so that more of you will be able to enjoy the music, either because you’re at home or because most of your colleagues have left the office already).

1. Akin Gump: Akin may have lost Tom Goldstein, but it still has a very nice holiday card. The winner of our 2009 holiday card contest, Akin returns to defend its title with this offering.

It may not be as clever as last year’s card. But the Akin Gump 2010 holiday card boasts holiday fun, law-related wordplay, visual appeal, and pleasant music. Check it out here.

(Each year the firm has two holiday e-cards, one fun and one more traditional. The more traditional one (yawn) appears here.)

2. Clayton Simms: Many firms spent a lot of money on their 2010 holiday cards. Clayton Simms, a two-lawyer criminal defense shop in Salt Lake City, did not. It doesn’t even have the de rigueur Christmas music.

But their card still turned out awesome. View it here (and scroll down).

3. Fish & Richardson: One pattern I noticed: intellectual-property firms tend to produce some of the best holiday cards. It makes sense, since they need to seem creative and cool to their creative and cool clients.

Anyway, the card of Fish & Richardson — fish, geddit? — is simply too cute for words. Behold it over here.

4. Lankler & Carragher: So many law firm Christmas cards are safe and boring. But to make a fun holiday card, sometimes you have to be willing to make yourself look a bit ridiculous.

The attorneys at this 12-person litigation boutique might work on serious cases, but they also have a sense of humor. The tagline for their video e-card — “We look forward to another year of fighting for our clients!” — emphasizes the firm’s vigorous advocacy. Check out their high-energy card here.

5. Manatt, Phelps & Phillips: It’s not surprising that Manatt, known for a great entertainment law practice, has a highly entertaining holiday card (which we mentioned when we first announced this contest). The WSJ Law Blog declared the Manatt card to be its favorite for 2010. An ATL reader agreed: “One of the best I’ve seen. You have to love when law firms can poke fun… at themselves! A little levity to break up your day.”

If you haven’t seen it yet, or if you’d like to refresh your recollection, enjoy the Manatt card here.

6. Proctor Heyman: This eight-lawyer firm has a history of doing fun, creative holiday cards (which might be a little surprising given its focus on Delaware corporate law, not IP or entertainment). Their 2009 card, which you can see here, was inspired by The Beatles’ Abbey Road.

The firm’s 2010 holiday card is even cooler and snazzier. Founding partner Kurt Heyman explained their inspiration to me:

We try to pick iconic themes from popular culture that will work with the number of attorneys we have. We had four partners when we did the Abbey Road card; and we have two name partners to portray the Blues Brothers — with the rest of the attorneys portraying members of the PH Blues Band. The Blues Brothers also worked from the perspective of Vern Proctor’s and my respective statures (I’m the shorter, stouter one). In fact, Vern and I went to a Halloween party a number of years ago as the Blues Brothers, so this was really a reprise for us.

Experience the Proctor & Heyman card here (and turn up your speakers if you can).

7. Sterne Kessler: Another IP firm with another great holiday card. Said the tipster who sent it to us: “Entry for the clever category (at least for IP attorneys).” Law firm marketing guru Ross Fishman also had warm words for the Sterne Kessler card, which he watched “at least four times.”

It’s whimsical and fun, it’s aesthetically appealing, and it nicely underscores the firm’s IP orientation. Access the Sterne Kessler card here.

Now that you’ve seen all the finalists, which we limited to a lucky seven, it’s time to vote. We’ll keep voting open through SUNDAY, JANUARY 9, at 11:59 PM (Eastern time). Good luck!

Which law firm has the best holiday card for 2010?

  • Proctor Heyman (26%, 463 Votes)
  • Clayton Simms (23%, 405 Votes)
  • Manatt, Phelps & Phillips (18%, 327 Votes)
  • Sterne Kessler (15%, 261 Votes)
  • Fish & Richardson (9%, 152 Votes)
  • Akin Gump (7%, 131 Votes)
  • Lankler & Carragher (2%, 30 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,769

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Earlier: Above the Law’s Second Annual Holiday Card Contest

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