I had a professor in law school who also practiced law. (Those of you who haven't gone to law school are probably thinking this goes without saying, but in the weird world of law school, it's quite unusual, and in fact, some law professors have never even attempted to practice law.)
Anyway, I remember him going off on a tangent one day about rainmaking, networking, and ways of keeping in touch with clients to encourage them to think of you the next time that they, or someone that they know, need a lawyer.
One suggestion he made was sending Christmas cards to all of your former clients.
I remember just smirking, and thinking to myself, "Yet another way that so much of what they teach in law school doesn't apply to the public defender practice."
Although, as I wrote out my own Christmas cards tonight, I was thinking that maybe it would be nice to send Christmas cards to my clients that are in jail. I couldn't send cards to all of my clients, but considering I only have a handful that are in jail, and they probably need the Christmas cheer the most, it might be feasible.
Not for the purposes of rainmaking, of course. Just to be nice.
But, I don't know. I don't know if I could expect the cash-strapped public defender's office to pay the postage. And they wouldn't be in public defender envelopes, they'd be red Christmas card envelopes. And then I think we reach a weird line where I'm communicating with my clients outside of regular legal mail, in red envelopes no less, and it's only a slippery slope to the point where I'm marrying my clients. (Yes, I hear it has happened. But not to me, of course. I say no to all of the proposals.)
And then, finally, there's the rainmaking effect which is unwanted in public defender land. The clients, who had otherwise forgotten about me as an outlet for their looneyness and lonelyness, would suddenly remember me, and probably figure I have too much time on my hands since I have time to send Christmas cards, and then they'll start calling me to ask me things like how their "motion to squash" is coming along...
So, I think this year I'm going to have to skip the Christmas cards. To my clients, at least.