Holiday Cards

You know that it’s the holiday season when your inbox begins to fill up with holiday cards. Some are cute, some are clever, some are heartfelt, and some come from people and companies you don’t even remember meeting or doing business with.

And even though these people can’t be bothered to spend the time and money necessary to send real holiday cards in the mail, they still took a few minutes out of their day to send an email. At least sending out a holiday card via mass email gives the appearance that the sender cares about you. As many mothers would say, it’s the thought that counts.

So what happens when a law school sends out a holiday card, but completely botches it? This New York law school previously provided walking instructions to its students, but maybe the administration needs instructions on how to send out emails that are a little less insulting….

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We are pleased and proud to announce Above the Law’s third annual law firm holiday card contest. This happy, heartwarming feature is a Christmastime favorite, as beloved as figgy pudding. It’s the perfect cure for the bonus season blues.

For the past two years, Biglaw and small firms have duked it out for the distinction of having the best Christmas card. Last year’s honors went to a small firm: Proctor Heyman, the Delaware corporate litigation and counseling boutique. In the inaugural holiday card contest, a large firm prevailed: Akin Gump (which recently announced its bonuses, at least in New York).

We’ve already received several emails asking about when this year’s contest would start. The answer is: it starts today!

Read on — and read carefully — for the official contest rules….

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If you’re a newly departed Biglaw lawyer, that silence you hear is the absence of the email from the firm’s office manager asking you how many Christmas, sorry, “holiday” cards you need to send out this year. And if you’re in the first year or so of your own practice, I bet you can’t wait for the prize — your first shipment of gold embossed “HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM THE LAW OFFICES OF LOOK AT ME I HAVE MY OWN CARDS” holiday cards.

Christmas down here in solo and small firm land is much different. There are fewer meticulously planned escapes from the firm’s boring holiday “party,” and there’s no more relying on “the firm” to spend the bucks on gifts for its clients and referral sources. Now they’re your clients and referral sources, so make a list, and check it twice….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Practice: It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like a Non-Biglaw Christmas”

Above the Law’s second annual holiday card contest was a great success. Thanks to everyone who responded to our call for nominations, thanks to the finalists who created such great holiday cards, and thanks to all the voters.

The campaigning was vigorous. And the final winner actually wasn’t one of the two firms that was leading early in the voting. There was an eleventh-hour surge over the weekend from one of the contenders.

Let’s find out who won this thing….

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Our law firm holiday card contest is still underway, but we’re in the home stretch. Voting closes tomorrow, January 9, at 11:59 p.m. (Eastern time). If you haven’t done so already, review the finalists and vote over here.

In the our earlier post, we promised a post in which we’d (1) give shout-outs to some holiday cards that were strong but narrowly missed our cut and (2) poke fun at some of the Christmas cards we found especially disappointing. Here is the promised post.

Let’s look at some of these honorable and dishonorable mentions. Perhaps your law firm’s card is among them?

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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….

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Happy Holidays, from Gordon & Rees (click on the image to see the card - note that there's music).

Last year we held our first annual contest for law firm holiday cards. It was a fun feature, as well as a big hit with Above the Law readers.

The winner, in a landslide, was Akin Gump. Check out their delightful card, which is still online, over here.

(The clever 2010 holiday card of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips — which the WSJ Law Blog just named as its favorite card for this year — has a punchline that’s reminiscent of last year’s Akin Gump card. But the Manatt card opens with a funny fictionalized firm meeting to discuss the holiday card, which the Akin card did not have.)

We recently received lovely holiday e-cards from two well-regarded firms: Gordon & Rees, a California-based Am Law 200 and NLJ 250 firm, and Much Shelist, a Chicago-based business law firm. You can check out their cards — they both contain music, so you might want to turn your computer’s sound off or use headphones if you’re not alone — by clicking on the images (above right, for Gordon & Rees, and after the jump, for Much Shelist).

These cards reminded us: ’tis the season — for a holiday card contest!

If you’re interested in submitting a law firm holiday card for consideration, please read on for the submission guidelines….

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Ed. note: Have a question for next week? Send it in to


My firm, like so many, has decided not to purchase and send holiday cards for our clients, instead relying on those stupid ecards.  Ostensibly this is part of our “Going Green” initiative.  More likely it puts more green in the partners’ pockets.  Whatever.

I’d like to send actual paper cards to some of my clients and contacts.  These are people who are not social friends, but with whom I have a business relationship, or would like to maintain professional contact. My questions:

1.  Should I send them my regular family holiday card (photo of me with the wife & kids and a holiday greeting)?  Most of the people to whom I would send this have never met my wife or kids, and in many cases probably don’t know they even exist.

2.  If not, should I get a generic card or a customized card with my name on the card?  what about other info (firm name, phone, email, etc.)?

3.  Should I include a business card with my holiday card?

4.  Should I forget the whole thing and just send ecards?  or nothing at all?

Bah Humbug

Dear Bah Humbug,

These detailed questions require a very organized response. Let’s break down each option you’ve laid out…

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