How should I celebrate with my attorney?
April 25, 2013 5:24 PM   Subscribe

It's been a long, drawn out, time consuming battle, but finally, after 2.5 years, we're closing in on the finish line. All but one party has agreed to a final offer, and it looks like a settlement is almost certain. I am pleased to say that I have had an excellent working relationship with my attorney and credit us both equally for a significant accomplishment. Here's a question for the attorneys out there. How would you like to be thanked by a client? I've already given my attorney a bottle of tequila for hard work on one of two gigantic briefs. Then I just lost another bottle on a stupid bet I wagered on whether one of the parties to the settlement would agree to the mediator's amount. The big moment we've been waiting for is fast approaching. What to do to celebrate? Recommendations?
posted by zagyzebra to Law & Government (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Does your attorney want to celebrate? If so, do something you know your attorney would like, such as taking them to a lovely dinner.

Most attorneys simply want prompt payment, sincere thanks, and the knowledge that you will speak well of them and return to them and refer to them for similar legal needs.
posted by bearwife at 5:31 PM on April 25, 2013 [6 favorites]

Our office really appreciates a happy client's agreement to do a testimonial (video for his website, or written if that's more appropriate). Costs you nothing and will make them money.
posted by Pomo at 5:41 PM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Pay your fees on time and / or honor the contingency split you agreed to years ago. Keep in touch long term and liberally give referrals to people you know in a similar situation who may need his / her assistance as well (also review his / her website so you know what OTHER services may be appropriate to recommend to friends).
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 5:42 PM on April 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

Perhaps offer to pay for a lovely dinner for your lawyer and their spouse/partner. Otherwise - the other advice is spot on - being a good client is the best reward for your lawyer.
posted by helmutdog at 5:46 PM on April 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

Pay your fees on time and / or honor the contingency split you agreed to years ago.

I cannot emphasize this enough. I was just speaking with one of my partners today about how we have suits to collect money from clients who stiffed us where we have won the case for them in a quick and efficient manner. The best way to thank us by making sure we get paid. (The second best way is to send us more business)
posted by Tanizaki at 5:55 PM on April 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

Pay on time, refer business, and write a sincere and thoughtful thank-you card that they can reread when life gets them down. I keep a file of those from former clients, and they really cheer me up on bad days.
posted by 168 at 7:11 PM on April 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

Don't forget the support staff!


Support staff
posted by Lucinda at 7:33 PM on April 25, 2013 [16 favorites]

You've talked in terms of "celebration" rather than "gift," but I have a thought related to each.

First, celebration: there's no standard lawyer celebration thing to do. Lawyers are people, so what does your lawyer-person like to do? Do that with them. Do they love to sail? Taste wine? Go to sporting events? Sing karaoke? Eat sushi? My celebrations with clients have never been more than a drink or a lunch, so I'd be pretty impressed if a client took the time to think about something I actually liked to do and then went to the effort to make it happen, even if that thing was just going golfing or to my favorite restaurant I had mentioned, or whatever.

If your question is actually how to properly thank your lawyer, there's no real etiquette for this (except-yes! pay! quickly!); you are paying them, probably a lot, for a service. It's not like they're doing this solely out of the goodness of their hearts. But, one idea I haven't seen mentioned yet might be to get a piece of memorabilia from the case--either a pleading from an important motion, or the complaint, or the first page of the settlement agreement, or another document representing important evidence, etc., and write a big thank you on that, and have it mounted and framed. I'd be pretty stoked to put something like that up in my office because it would always remind me of how valued my work was and how strong my relationship was with the client.

Also, congratulations on reaching what appears to be a satisfying resolution to your matter!
posted by MoonOrb at 9:02 PM on April 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

I have been blessed with truly, God's greatest lawyer. In the year he won a personal injury case for me, I sent him a custom superhero portrait I'd had made.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:15 AM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

I always felt uncomfortable with clients giving me anything more than flowers or a box of chocolates. (I even had one client who, after he'd been acquitted on a charge of handling stolen property - due more to the prosecution's incompetency rather than my skill as a defence lawyer - gave me a huge bouquet of flowers which, on closer inspection it appeared had been stolen from a grave at the local cemetery ...)

As Lucinda says, don't forget the support staff - a couple of boxes of Krispy Kremes, cookies or a nice fruit basket will be much appreciated by the secretaries and paralegals who, as every lawyer knows, are the unsung heroes in the office.
posted by essexjan at 1:50 AM on April 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

I sometimes will send gift hampers to the office of service providers. Not addressed to anyone specific, just to the office.
posted by nickrussell at 4:34 AM on April 26, 2013

I liked the flowers I got from a pair of clients when I saved both their jobs.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:18 AM on April 26, 2013

A bottle of scotch and lots of referrals. And be clear about the referrals; "I'm going to tell everyone I know who ever needs an attorney how great you are."
posted by craven_morhead at 6:56 AM on April 26, 2013

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