I saw a full page ad on the back of a law-related magazine a few months back that bothered me. It was placed by a multi-state court reporting firm and offered a $25 gift card in return for the next deposition scheduled with the firm. I imagine that they got a lot of responses. But the offer bothered in several ways. Would the assistant tell the lawyers he/she is getting this premium? Should it rightfully belong to the staff person making the call, the lawyer, the law firm or maybe even arguably the client? What if this reporting service charges more than the competition? Are we really talking gift or a possibly illegal kickback?
Risk of Rewards By James DeCrescenzo on Depo.com covers these issues and many more, including what the Internal Revenue Service position might be.
Does your office have a written policy about staff members accepting gifts related to their duties? One would think that, at a minimum, disclosure to the firm would be required and an outright prohibition might be advised. I’ll let you read the article and make your own decisions. But here’s one more example of something that law firm managers have to think about that might not have been an issue in earlier times.