Attorneys: Will you be sending holiday greeting cards again this year? (Read this before you do)


‘Tis the season. . .

Yep, the holidays are right around the corner. Will you be sending cards this year?

If you are, this excellent 13-step holiday greeting card guide for law firms will help you create a plan and a timetable.

You don’t want to wait until the last minute. Not with so many decisions to make. Remember last year? You spent way too much time looking through catalogs to find just the right card (mustn’t offend anyone) and then spent way too much money because you didn’t want your clients to think you couldn’t afford a nicer card. . .

I’d like to propose an alternative to this annual ritual of pain.

Don’t misunderstand me, I do recommend communicating with your clients and professional contacts and the holidays are an especially good time to do that. Communication is the sine qua non of relationship building, after all. What I don’t recommend is sending the same commercial greeting cards everyone else sends.

Why? Because a mass market, commercial greeting card that your client reads for three seconds before placing on the fireplace mantle sends an unwritten message:

We’re sending this to you because it is expected of us and we didn’t want to take a chance that you would notice if we didn’t. We couldn’t be bothered to put any thought into it, so we spent some money instead. We want to remind you that we still exist and we hope you will remember us if you need an attorney or know someone who does.”

Commercial holiday cards, the same cards sent by every insurance agent and dentist, are nothing more than advertising, and everyone knows it.

Look, you know these people and you do appreciate them, and they you. You helped them through a tough time or you helped them achieve something important. You met their family or their employees. You really do care about them as individuals, but your holiday card says they are just names on a mailing list.

So, what do I advise instead?

A letter. Send a personal letter to your clients that says what you really want to say.

Tell them what you would tell them if you were sitting with them in person.

Tell them that you appreciate knowing them and you are proud that you have been able to help them. Share news about what happened this year in your practice and personal life and your thoughts about next year. Share a story about a remarkable case, a client who opened a new business, or a new hire in your firm.

Write about the economy and offer solace and advice. Write about books that changed your thinking, and quotes that inspired you. And, because it’s a personal letter, you can write about your kids, your hobbies, or your vacation. Whatever you write about, make sure you tell your clients how grateful you are to know them and have them as clients.

When your clients receive these annual missives, they will read every word. They will tell their friends and families about their attorney’s letter. And because they know you didn’t have to do it, they will call you and send you emails thanking you for taking the time to write a personal message.

My wife and I have friends who send out a family newsletter every year. It’s written by the husband and reads like a newspaper, with headlines, photos with captions, and “news” stories. Very funny news stories. Humor is not easy to pull off, but my friend does it like a pro. My wife and I read it cover to cover, laughing all the way. Our friends moved to the Midwest a few years ago, so we don’t see them much (they visited recently) but their newsletter keeps us informed about what’s going on in their lives and makes us feel like we are still a part of it.

Send your clients and others you care about a year-end personal letter. If not a complete letter, at least add a note inside the card. If you really want to make an impact, add a personal, hand written P.S., something that lets your client know you know who they are.

You don’t need much, just something personal. “Tell Michael I wished him good luck in his soccer tournament!” will be appreciated and long remembered, and so will you.