Decisions! Decisions!

When my client, a prominent Big Law attorney, approached me regarding the perfect gift for his father-in-law, I was psyched. Much like myself, he’s very creative, and I knew he’d be a terrific brainstorming partner! (Plus, gift projects are usually a lot of fun – it’s always a treat to get to make someone else super happy!) Most people wouldn’t immediately associate gifting as as an activity falling under the rubric of organizing services, but because it’s so easy these days to send generic (albeit wonderful!) presents, when clients want to deliver something truly outstanding, we design gifts together.

My involvement, start-to-finish:

  1. Learn about the gift recipient In this case, the gift recipient is a retired judge celebrating his eightieth (!) birthday.
  2. Learn what the client wants to express with this gift My client wanted something meaningful, not just “nice” (aka expensive) – this is a common sentiment, especially in NYC! We chose to pay deference to his age and impressive career while including a burst of love from his family.
  3. Design the best gift ever I outlined my plan, for me to compile all of the judge’s published decisions into a bound volume, with a dedication page from his family. I assisted the family in keeping the book professional, but in adding this warm personal touch to demonstrate the magnitude of the moment.
  4. Figure out logistics We had a generous budget in terms of cash, but a very small budget in terms of time – just two weeks. Using my worldwide connections – in this case, reaching out to my friends in academia and relying on a midwest press I used while in graduate school – I retained an exceptional vendor to handle the printing. As my client wished to be very involved, I presented a detailed list of specifications for his review, enabling him to offer his thoughts on our chosen paper (weight, shade, size), ink, cover (embossing, variety of leather), etc. I was flattered to discover that my client loved my first-round picks!
  5. Make it happen I used the gold standard legal research tool to access all sixty-five (!) published decisions, and then – with painstaking attention to detail – groomed each page to look elegant. Each decision is neat, polished, and easy to read. Perfect for a judge to look back over an impressive career! I drafted a table of contents presenting the decisions in chronological order, and within decisions from the same dates I further organized the cases into alphabetical order. (OCD is my specialty!) I worked with the family to draft a warm but not mushy dedication. I had extensive communication with the printer – including a significant design revision following a test-run! – and had the materials submitted prior to the needed deadline.
  6. Enjoy the finished project I delivered the completed volumes to my client several days ahead of schedule along with my itemized invoice. I am proud to report that the project fell squarely in the middle of the projected range for hours and at the 75% mark of the range for expenses. I track this information so I can deliver more accurate estimates to my clients. To date, we have never gone over budget!
  7. Follow up I was ecstatic to learn that the judge was truly touched by the gift, and my client was very pleased with the results. I forward to creating with this client again!