Thank you to everyone who submitted nominations for our fifth annual holiday card contest. In terms of quantity, we received a great many submissions. And (almost) all of you complied with the contest rules, so thanks for that as well.

Quantity was strong, but in terms of quality… well, at the risk of sounding Grinch-like, this wasn’t the strongest batch we’ve seen over the years. We received a lot of cards that were tasteful and well-executed but boring. While it’s not surprising that many firms take a “do no harm” approach to holiday cards, it doesn’t make for the most exciting contest.

That said, there were still a few stalks of wheat mixed in with the chaff. Here are the eight fabulous finalists, for you to review and vote upon….

Here they are, in alphabetical order, accompanied by short blurbs. Please note that most of these cards have SOUND, so you might want to turn your sound off or down, or use headphones (depending on where you are; we decided to run this post late in the day 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: This firm has made the finals for every year that we’ve been doing this contest. Their clever card plays off of the “Most Interesting Man In The World” ad campaign for Dos Equis beer. You can enjoy the creative lyrics and visuals, including a pile of blow snow (at 0:50), over here.

(By the way, the card has caused some aches for Akin. The firm did everything right and asked for permission to use the image of Jonathan Goldsmith from Heineken, parent of Dos Equis, which Heineken initially granted. But then Heineken had a change of heart and revoked its permission — so by the time you view the card, the image of Goldsmith inside a picture frame (previously at 0:07) might be replaced by a smiling snowman. If you’re the in-house lawyer at Heineken who stole Christmas, shame on you!)

2. Fenwick & West: Another familiar firm, Fenwick returns for a third consecutive year with a visually impressive offering. “[W]e look for something that has some tie-in to our largely technology-focused client base, either directly or by evoking the ethos and mindset of our clients. This year, we became enamored with the original version of the Lite Brite toy that was introduced in the early late 1960s/early 1970s. In addition to being a ‘tech toy’ from days of yore, it has that great tech platform for creativity: constraints. Can you create something compelling using only a few colored pegs on a small grid where you can’t even make a straight vertical line? [It's] a nice reminder that a few round pegs with seemingly limited capacity can work together to create something beautiful. We hope you like it.”

We most certainly do! Check it out here.

3. Grodsky & Olecki: Although its a newcomer to the finals, this Santa Monica litigation boutique has been having fun with holiday cards for years (as you can see from its cache of cards dating back to 2003). They often base their cards on current events, as you can see from their 2008 card, which we highlighted here. As for their latest offering, which pays tribute to “Memorable Things From 2013,” chuckle over it here.

4. Hirschfeld Kraemer: This employer-side employment law boutique, with offices in California and Nevada, also makes its contest debut this year, with a holiday card that ties its practice area nicely into the holidays. As the firm explains, its card “revisits classic holiday narratives and asks the question, ‘What would happen if lawyers, specifically labor and employment lawyers, got involved?'” Find out over here.

5. Manatt, Phelps & Phillips: This year marks Manatt’s third consecutive appearance in the finals. Its latest card embraces social media — which many large law firms haven’t done very well — in an entertaining way. Behold the Manatt holiday card here.

6. Michel & Associates: This California litigation boutique makes the finals for the second year in a row. It’s a little similar to their card from last year, but it will probably still make you laugh. Amuse yourself with this mock deposition transcript over here.

7. Otten Johnson: This Denver-based law firm breaks into the finals for the first time with a charming card focused on the legalities surrounding snowman construction. “We hope you enjoy the ‘we don’t take ourselves too seriously’ attitude of our holiday card. It is compelling because it is unusual: no video of attorneys smiling at the camera in a board room, no collages of still shots of all the volunteer work we did over the past year, no flash presentations on world peace and how to say ‘Happy Holidays’ in 43 languages, no snow falling on the mountains in the background. Just some white boarding that shows a silly caricature of Colorado real estate and business attorneys (that’s us). (And, if you want to see some skiing, visit our home page: www.ottenjohnson.com.)”

It’s a fun card, with well-drawn visuals and funny lyrics. Access it here.

8. Sutliff & Stout PLLC: Another newcomer, this Texas-based personal injury firm enters the finals with a humorous card that our conservative readers will especially enjoy. The firm sent us a PDF of its hard-copy card because, as founding partner Graham Sutliff put it, “We firmly believe that paper cards are the only way to go at Christmas time. We have not sold out to the big firm trend of sending cheaper, ‘environmentally friendly’ e-cards…. A paper card will follow this email so that you can get the full effect of our Christmas card. The card is glued shut so the recipient is unable to open the card (much like users on www.healthcare.gov) without damaging the card.”

Check out the card here (and in response to your inevitable complaint, yes, we know — that’s the whole point).


So there you have them: the eight cards that are, in our (admittedly subjective) opinion, this year’s finest law firm holiday cards. Congratulations to the clever and creative people who crafted these delightful works. Who says law firms don’t have humor or style?

All eight are excellent, but only one can win. Please vote for your favorite in the poll below. We’ll keep the polls open through SUNDAY, JANUARY 5, 2014, at 11:59 p.m. (Eastern time). This gives you ample time to campaign for your pick over the holidays (and enlist your friends and relatives in the cause).

Good luck, and happy holidays!

Which law firm has the best holiday card for 2013?

  • Akin Gump (39%, 2,986 Votes)
  • Sutliff & Stout (33%, 2,501 Votes)
  • Manatt Phelps & Phillips (9%, 709 Votes)
  • Hirschfeld Kraemer (8%, 609 Votes)
  • Grodsky & Olecki (4%, 310 Votes)
  • Otten Johnson (3%, 232 Votes)
  • Michel & Associates (2%, 179 Votes)
  • Fenwick & West (2%, 163 Votes)

Total Voters: 7,688

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Earlier: Above the Law’s Fifth Annual Holiday Card Contest
ATL Holiday Card Contest: The Winner! (2012)
ATL Holiday Card Contest: The Finalists! (2012)
Above the Law’s Fourth Annual Holiday Card Contest (2012)
ATL Holiday Card Contest (2011): The Winner!
ATL Holiday Card Contest (2011): The Finalists!
Above the Law’s Third Annual Holiday Card Contest (2011)


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