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If you're like most lawyers, you know that your very presence in the life of a client is a gift in and of itself. As such, when the holidays roll around, an unbilled phone call just to check in is probably as much of a gift as you really need to give any client. Unless, of course, your taxman tells you that you have some money to burn.
But, if you've been visited by the ghosts of Christmas, and you're in the giving spirit or just looking for some deductions, since you're not as rich as Scrooge, below you can find some tips on how to decide which clients to give gifts.
Your Former Favorites
If you only have the budget to give a handful of clients gifts, you might want to consider focusing on your favorite former clients. Think back to the clients whom you either had a profound impact upon, or vice versa, or the ones where you were able to obtain good results.
Sending along a little something that shows them you were thinking of them is a nice gesture. It's also a good marketing ploy as a former client may not even remember you.
The Ones That Pay
If you really want to focus on your current clients, you might want to reward the clients that actually pay their bills on time. While you probably don't want clients to know you keep your own naughty list, it makes the most financial sense to only spend gratuitous money on clients that actually pay you.
Don't Do Individual Gifts ... but Do Send a Card or Host a Party?
Really ... what's the point of giving a client a gift? Sure, you appreciate the business, but spending money on something unnecessary just doesn't seem prudent, and lawyers are supposed to be prudent. Additionally, there are some ethical concerns when it comes to gift giving, especially if the gift can be construed as a solicitation. Also, what happens when the client doesn't get a gift the following year?
However, sending all your current and former clients (at least the ones that don't hate you) a holiday greeting card is just good business, and it's even better if that greeting contains an invite to your office's holiday party.