How do I thank my lawyer?
September 23, 2013 8:59 AM   Subscribe

My (dramatic) divorce will be finalized in 3 weeks. How do I acknowledge how awesome my lawyer is?

My divorce has been grueling. It's involved my moving several states away from my soon-to-be-ex, and my STBX having to move twice in the last year because of both professional and financial fallout. Throughout this, my lawyer has been a champ -- she's been my sounding board for interacting with my ex, she's been really informative of what's frankly a scary process, and has let me take as much time to do what I need to do in terms of paperwork and decision-making. In fact, she will be driving about 8 hrs roundtrip to finalize my divorce because I can't be in court physically. She's also doing a lot of this for free, because she's friends of a friend. She went through a bad divorce herself, and is/has been really sympathetic towards me.

Here are some of my ideas:

1. Flowers -- I really like flowers, and I thought she might like some of the potted ones you can get delivered from flowers.com, because she just moved into a new office. She's got her own practice/office now, and is really proud of it.

2. And Audible.com subscription -- she drives a lot for work and family stuff.

3. Candy/food -- she's got kids and food is fun to share.

4. A donation in her name to a local DV shelter/legal clinic -- she's a Christian and is passionately invested in women's rights and family law as it pertains to protecting children, so I think this would vibe with her on a variety of levels.

5. I'm a pretty good baker, so maybe cookies mailed to her office?

Any other suggestions? I'd prefer something I can mail or have delivered to her.
posted by spunweb to Human Relations (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Offer to recommend her practice. If you are on LinkedIn and connected to her, you can write a recommendation there.
posted by exogenous at 9:03 AM on September 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


All of those are good. I sent my lawyer a nice Edible Arrangement for her office
posted by TedW at 9:04 AM on September 23, 2013


She's also doing a lot of this for free, because she's friends of a friend.

Whatever she does finally bill you, pay that bill promptly. People have lots of preferences, but every lawyer I know has overhead to cover, and really appreciates prompt payment.
posted by ambrosia at 9:05 AM on September 23, 2013 [22 favorites]


Skip the food gifts. You just don't know of people's preferences or allergies or dietary requirements. It has been my experience that very often food gifts either go to waste, or are given away to someone else because the recipient either can't eat it or doesn't like it.


A heartfelt letter of thanks can go a long way. The donation to a related charity in her name sounds like a safe bet as well. Since she is a friend of a friend, ask your friend what charity they think your lawyer would most appreciate.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 9:06 AM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'd prefer something I can mail or have delivered to her.

I think you have some good ideas in this vein, and you'll get more. But speaking as a lawyer and if you'll pardon a slightly outside the box suggestion: if I had to script the perfect thank-you, then yes, I'd love to get a quick note or a small box of candy, but what would be more meaningful is if you (also) kept your appreciation in your pocket for some future date. In two, five, ten years I'd love to get a card from you saying, "I've accomplished X and Y, and I couldn't have done those without your help back then." There are lovely things you can do today, and go ahead and do them, but there's nothing you can do today that will be as meaningful as checking in down the road to confirm that she helped you get to a better place.
posted by cribcage at 9:22 AM on September 23, 2013 [23 favorites]


Whatever she does finally bill you, pay that bill promptly.

Lawyer here. Seconding this. Maybe reconsider the discount you are receiving and pay her a bit more. Definitely make sure you are covering all of her costs, such as gas and mileage for the 8-hour round trip to court.
posted by Tanizaki at 9:23 AM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


It really depends on your relationship with her. Baking something is more personal; food in general can be more casual than donation-related gifts. However you choose to acknowledge all her help, I'm sure she'll be pleased.

Whatever you do in the short term, stay in touch. Whenever your "last appointment" is, send a letter (handwritten letter, with a pretty card) a few months later telling her about things are going well, and thanking her again for helping you make those positive changes in your life. Yes, she's a professional you have hired to do a job, but she obviously is personally involved in this case to some extent, and to come back later with a reminder that she's made a long-lasting difference can be really meaningful.
posted by aimedwander at 9:23 AM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I send my lawyer cupcakes. And LinkedIn recommendations.
posted by DarlingBri at 9:48 AM on September 23, 2013


Something my paid professionals really appreciate--though it's obviously a really mundane thing--is a good writeup on Yelp/LinkedIn/Whatever recommendation services they prefer.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 9:54 AM on September 23, 2013


I had my awesome lawyer experience before there was so many review possibilities, and my thanks was a detailed letter about the number of ways she rocked, prompt payment, a card to her staff (they were such a huge part of why she was so successful in our case), and, yep, baked goods for the office.

With all these notes about putting something online, I'm going to go look her up on those services and leave positive notes everywhere.
posted by batmonkey at 10:11 AM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm a lawyer in a legal clinic - our clients generally don't have disposable income to spend on gifts. Occasionally we do get flowers, baked goods, cards. All of which are more than welcome in our office - even if someone can't eat a particular thing, someone else in the office will and then a favour is owed between us.

Seconding the thank-you to the staff, definitely, as with paying as promptly as you can. The yelp/linked-in/etc is a must. Realistically, given that you say she's been doing it at reduced cost as a favour, anything will go a long way because it signals that she did in fact help.
posted by Lemurrhea at 10:16 AM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you do do the plant thing, call a local florist and ask them what they have. Lots of times internet floral websites simply send the order to a local florist, and you don't necessarily get what you pick out. Plus, local florist, cheaper.

A nice peace lily(green plant) for the office, floor plant size, (in 8in diameter pot) costs 49 bucks plus delivery where I work. That cost will vary depending on what part of the country you live in. Smaller plants will be less. If peace lilies aren't your thing, they will probably have something else about that size for the same or similar price.

If you prefer to send a cut flower arrangement, a nice one will be about 40-50 bucks. Ask for designers choice and get something that looks way better than Teleflora or FTD.

BTW, I have had people in your shoes come in and order flowers for their lawyers. It's a really nice gesture and they will enjoy them.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 3:27 PM on September 23, 2013


Definitely a card for the lawyer and some baked goods for the office!
posted by yarly at 5:13 PM on September 23, 2013


Thank you all for the advice! I think I'm going to send the posted plant now, and then over Christmas I'll send her a card letting her know I think she's amazing.
posted by spunweb at 11:41 AM on September 25, 2013


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