Holiday Gifts for Small Law Firms and Solo Practitioners

October 18, 2016

The holidays are a little over two months away!

October is the time when law firms start planning their holiday gifts, holiday cards, and annual holiday office party. Here are some ideas for small law firms and solo practitioners to consider when deciding what to give to their clients and referral sources this holiday season.  

The Short List

Your firm has a lot to handle at the end of the year with bonuses, holiday parties, and last, but not least, client gifts. Don't feel pressure to provide gifts to ALL of your clients or referral sources. Many people in your professional network will feel recognized when they receive your electronic or printed holiday card. For your gift giving, focus on who has really supported your practice in the past, especially over the last year, so you can then determine how much is in your budget to spend.

What Everyone Else is Doing

For many law firms, the two weeks before the Christmas holiday mark the time when the gifts from vendors (court reporters, videographers, jury consultants, marketing firms, and other lawyers) are delivered.  Some give a box of chocolates or cookies. Many choose to give cellophane wrapped wine or cider bottles. One of the standard gifts is a popcorn tin (you know the type with the three sections for the three flavors -butter, caramel, and cheese).  Seasonal plants are also a favorite with many companies choosing to send live poinsettias and wreaths.  I have also seen more expensive technical gadgets, such as phone chargers and stylus pens, being given out.  

Be Tasteful

The point of your professional holiday gifting isn't to wow or impress anyone. Over the top gifts actually have the negative effect of appearing boastful. A good example of this was a lavish holiday party held at a law firm owner's home every year. This fully catered event was meant to spoil and thank the firm's clients and referral sources.  However, the guest feedback on the party was mixed.  Some clients were grateful to be invited to such a fancy event but the majority were annoyed by the palatial home that their lawyer lived in.

So rather than going big - go tasteful.  A holiday gift tells your clients how thankful you are for them. Once you have decided who you will give something to, take stock of what you have received in the past as a holiday gift from a professional connection and ask yourself:

  • Which gifts did you like?
  • Which gifts did you actually use?
  • Which gifts did you regift?
  • Which gifts are still untouched in your desk drawer?

Thoughtful Not Thoughtless

Don't let what you are giving be lost in the deluge of holiday gifts that your clients are also going to receive. Make your holiday gift stand out by putting a little thought into making it unique. Colorado has amazing local vendors that have great options for custom gifts for your clients.  Here are a few ways to make your firm's holiday gift worth the money and effort.

  • Unique Packaging. Who doesn't love a beautifully wrapped gift? Presentation alone can make your gift stand out.  Go beyond the standard wicker gift basket and be creative with packaging. There are tons of options to choose from such as gift bags, boxes, and fabric wrapping. Always add a touch of class with a handwritten holiday card or note. Tip: Consider incorporating a ribbon or bag that matches the color scheme of your firm's logo for subtle brand affirmation.
  • Fun Food. Make your edible gift memorable by focusing on the quality of what you are giving rather than the quantity.  Food products are fun, customizable, and versatile. I recall a law firm giving a box of sweet onions as a yearly holiday gift that were grown in the state where their law practice was.  What was great about this unique food gift was that it was a way of reminding each gift recipient that:  a) the law firm was still interested in maintaining a connection to receive referral work; and, b) the state where they practice law in. Tip: Create a themed box of Colorado-centric gifts for your out-of-state clients or referral sources that includes local honey, jellies, chocolate, and jerky.  
  • Delicious Drinks. When giving drinkable gifts, make sure you know your audience. If your client's lifestyle doesn't include alcohol, they should not be receiving a bottle of booze from your firm. One size does not fit all with this type of gift as some people will appreciate a craft beer basket more than they would a bottle of high-end bourbon.  For people that prefer nonalcoholic beverages give locally made cocoa, coffee, cider, and tea that are produced around Colorado.  Tip: There are plenty of other opportunities throughout the year to give out your firm's freebie swag. Even if you are giving a gift like coffee or tea, stick to making the gift about your client and don't include the coffee mugs with your firm logo on them.  
  • Non-Traditional Gifts. Another way to stand out from the crowd with holiday giving is to not give "things." For example, foodies will appreciate a gift certificate to a nice restaurant. Depending on their interests, theatre tickets are a great option or maybe its a gift that their whole family can enjoy like a museum membership.  Gift experiences are a thoughtful way to show your clients or referral sources that you are paying attention to what they enjoy doing in their spare time.  Tip: A great way of staying connected to your network is making a holiday gift donation to a nonprofit that you know your client supports.  Go a step further by telling them in your holiday card that you made a donation in their name.

Still Need Help?

Sometimes there are just not enough hours in the day and holiday gift planning may not make the cut on what is the best use of your time. Many law firms contract professionals, to handle this part of their marketing.  Using a vendor can make the gift giving process easy and make you look like a rockstar to your clients! Contracting a professional to handle your client holiday gift giving is seamless as they come to you with ideas rather than you doing all the shopping, wrapping, and other heavy work.  

Feel free to email me directly at Meranda@DenverLegalMarketing.com if you would like some help this holiday season.

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