After stealing all the Whoville toys, the Grinch planned to re-gift them to his army of lawyers.

I’m much more likely to throw away a gift or give it to charity than to regift something I already have or don’t want. I think I’d live in fear of the original gift-giver meeting up with the regift recipient and talking about how I was a bad friend for orchestrating the whole mess. I’d rather those two people meet up and say, “Did Elie get you anything? No? Too bad. I was hoping he did and you could tell him it sucked. That’s what he told me when he opened my present.” There’s something intangibly sneaky and dishonest about regifting. It’s just not classy.

Of course, people do it all the time. And not because they lack class so much as they lack money. Even if it’s tacky, regifting usually comes from a good place: you want to give presents to more people than you can afford to shop for.

But there’s nothing laudable (or forgivable) about how one small law firm in California goes about re-gifting. They want to send gifts to their clients — so they commandeer the gifts sent to their secretaries and staff, and regift them.

I think this firm missed the “spirit” part of this holiday season….

A tipster tells us how things go down in a small law firm that people living in Los Angeles will recognize. We’re not going to share the name of the law firm (it being a small shop and all), but we understand that if you pay attention to the law firm ads on the bus, you’ll figure it out.

Here’s how the holiday season plays out at Grinch LLP:

[W]e work closely with a number of medical finance companies, doctors’ offices, etc. At Christmas time, these offices send beautiful gift baskets with cookies, caviar, drinks, etc. to some of the attorneys and paralegals here. This law firm’s owner [Mr. Grinch] and the administrator have instituted a policy for the last ten or so years in which they immediately seize these baskets that are ADDRESSED TO SPECIFIC EMPLOYEES IN THE FIRM, re-label them, and then SEND THEM TO FORMER CLIENTS OF THE LAW OFFICE!!! Employees who try to take possession of these baskets, which are rightfully theirs, are swiftly reprimanded and instructed to bring all future baskets to the administrator’s office (I’m not kidding).

The most egregious example of this completely ghetto policy (mind you, Mr. Grinch drives an outrageously expensive sports car and certainly has the financial means to obtain equivalent gifts for their client) was when the senior litigation paralegal, who regularly does the medical management for complicated cases which then are referred out to another law firm, was sent a custom Tiffany pen by this other law firm. Only, she never received it. When, months later, an employee from this other firm called her and made some crack about how the paralegal “must not have cared for that [really expensive] pen we sent you,” the paralegal made her way around the office, looking to see what happened to the mysteriously disappearing pen. That was when she spotted Mr. Grinch’s secretary with the custom Tiffany pen on her desk. This paralegal ended up telling the other firm’s employee that there “must have been some sort of mistake,” because she didn’t want to throw her boss under the bus!

[T]he worst part about this policy is that the unsuspecting original “recipient” of these gift baskets is completely confused when the senders of these baskets suddenly start inquiring, “How did you like the [XYZ] that we sent you?” This is just the proverbial icing on the cookies that the hard-working employees of this firm never receive.

Isn’t that the worst law firm holiday story you’ve ever heard of? While most people are trying to figure out how much to give to their support staff, this firm is looking forward to what it can take from the secretaries and paralegals.

But this is how some firms are run. It’s a feudal estate where the managing partner considers himself lord and master. Mr. Grinch probably claims ownership over all of the Christmas hams the secretaries buy for their families. They need to have a Swan-upping on Christmas gifts in that office.

If you are looking for available legal support staff with experience in the Los Angeles area, try to find the people who work for Mr. Grinch’s firm. I’m sure they’d like to move to an office where they retain the right to receive a present.

Earlier: Holiday Gifts for Your Secretary / Administrative Staff: Open Thread


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