Ethics First Sample Langauge for Law Firms

Sample firm policy regarding accepting gifts

Effective immediately, no employee may accept, use, or pass on to another person any incentive gift, favor, gratuity, or entertainment given by vendors in order to influence a business transaction or to initiate a business relationship where one did not previously exist.

Experience has shown that the relationship between law firms and vendors must be safeguarded such that the appearance of impropriety must be avoided. Incentive gifts of any amount are not permitted. Excessive gifts above $100 per vendor per year are also not permitted not including nominal marketing gifts defined as less than $10 provided the spirit of the $100 limit is adhered to.

Sample email to firm employees

Incentive programs have the appearance of impropriety and should not play any part in choosing one court reporting service over another.  Such offers could actually be viewed as a form of kickback.  As I become aware of the companies involved in this practice, I will be instructing them to immediately cease sending such incentive promotions to [Firm] employees and will tell them that continuing to send such materials will be counterproductive to any continuing business relationship.

Effective immediately, no employee may accept, use or pass on to another person cash value gift certificates of the type described above from court reporting services or other vendors with whom we do business above a $100 per year limit.  Our clients should expect us to choose our vendors solely for reasons that benefit them, such as quality of service and price competitiveness.  Choosing vendors, or even appearing to do so, for reasons such as who gives the best gift certificates, is simply unacceptable. Nominal marketing gifts defined as less than $10 are still permitted although the spirit to the $100 limit must be adhered to.