Thursday, December 21, 2006

Unfortunately, it's holiday gift time. I've hated this practice ever since I started here. I didn't give my secretary anything my first year as an associate. I didn't know we were supposed to. She quit the day after Christmas. So then I knew. Since becoming a member of the senior leadership team, I've put together a memo every December listing all of the support staff people and some characteristics people can use to identify them, since it's not like we can be expected to remember their names. I happen to be good at names, but most of my associates are instead good at other things, like wasting my time and the firm's money. So I put together this "Mandatory Holiday Wealth Transfer Program" memo and send it around so everyone gets what's coming to them and all of us who are fortunate enough to be smart enough to be important in life can give a little back to the sad folks who answer our phones and type our documents. I thought it might be helpful for any readers at firms that don't distribute a document like this to take a look at mine for guidance this holiday season, so I've cut and pasted it below.


To: Attorneys

Once again, we're all forced by social custom to help the less fortunate among us afford food and shelter for the holiday season. Below are some guidelines for holiday tipping. Just as we do regarding your bonuses, feel free to adjust based on your subjective evaluation of people's performance, whether or not it bears any resemblance to reality.

As previously explained in the memo titled SALARY SHARE CALCULATION FOR HOLIDAY BONUS PURPOSES (12/18/06), one "share" as listed below is equivalent to 0.01% of your salary plus bonus, before taxes. Thus, if your salary+bonus is $200K, one "share" for purposes of these guidelines would be $20.

Your personal secretary: 10 shares

Each secretary (up to 4) in your local secretary pool: 2-3 shares

Secretary coordinator (the woman with the funny looking hats): 3-5 shares, if you have changed secretaries multiple times this calendar year and required her assistance.

Any paralegals you work closely with: 10 shares

Document pool workers you can identify by sight: 5 shares

The pastry guy with the narrow eyes: 1 share

The hirsute woman who cleans the offices: 2 shares or some leftover food

The copy machine repairman with the bad breath: 1 share if he has been of service to you in the past year, otherwise you are better served avoiding him

Creepy security guard: 3 shares

Hiring partner: 10 shares, or a nice bottle of wine

You should try and refrain from handing your gifts out before Christmas Day, since we want to encourage attendance at work by you and also by the people in line to receive the gifts. If they stay home, they deserve whatever gift penalties they end up receiving. In addition, please give them checks instead of cash -- most of them do not have the self-control to save their cash until they get home and will spend it on drugs and beer instead. We want to try and avoid a repeat of last year's Secretary Rave on the 38th floor conference room.

Best wishes for a billable holiday season.

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