UPDATED FOR 2018! NEW ITEMS AND SOME 2017 CLASSICS RETURN. The law school odyssey is coming to a close for many students this year, and before the focus shifts to studying for the bar exam and staring blankly into the middle distance contemplating disappearing job prospects, these graduates deserve some gifts.
Obviously, the best gifts for a newly minted J.D. would be “comprehensive debt relief,” “job offers,” or “straight cash, homey.” Unfortunately, you may not be able to deliver these gifts — at least not in amounts that anyone wants — or you may just not care that much about the graduate.
So we’ve compiled some gift ideas, ranging from serious to specious, for you to consider.
Before we begin, a quick policy statement: ATL is not being paid to promote any of these products, but when available from Amazon, the products are featured with affiliate links, meaning that ATL receives a small commission from Amazon if you buy something through that site.
I broke things down into categories. You can jump to a section through this table of contents, or you can scroll at your leisure:
If your graduate is lucky enough to have a job lined up for after the bar exam, consider office accouterments. A bare law firm office is one of the saddest scenes in the world. Levenger makes a handsome desk set that can be purchased in whole or in part to spruce up an office. The “bomber jacket” theme rests comfortably between modern and throwback. And they can decorate this set with their personalized pen set. Which they can use on their Ruth Bader Ginsburg stationery.
For a slightly more “old school” look, here’s a burgundy oak set from Amazon. This set is a little cheaper and includes a letter opener, and what gift is complete without a sharp object? Though some lawyers should not be anywhere near sharp objects.
On the lighter side, there’s this paperweight with words every lawyer can live by. There’s also the Legal Decision Maker Desk Paperweight that allows a lawyer to cede all decision-making to the Fates. And here’s something for the nagging client asking for something for free.
A lot of people have Apple Watches. But those are kind of cheap looking. Here’s a smartwatch that looks professional. And yes, this is actually a picture of a smartwatch.
Straddling the gap between office equipment and gizmos is this “Law & Justice” pen that can convert to a stylus for touchscreen devices.
The classic law school gift is a briefcase. But the days of the hard-sided rectangle of doom are in the past. A soft-sided, elegant bag that can store a laptop with room to spare is the order of the day. Kenneth Cole makes just such a bag in brown, black, and tan.
For a more vintage look, here’s a retro messenger satchel.
And if you feel compelled to purchase a hard-sided briefcase, Alpine Swiss offers an expandable briefcase with pockets for modern essentials like a smartphone.
And, of course, there’s Passing The Bar, the board game designed to help the graduate overcome the next hurdle in their lives. Or the “Game of the Year” award-winning LAWSUIT! Board Game. How about some Cards Against Lawyers?
This isn’t so much a “game” I suppose, but Mental Floss created Law School in a Box tagged “All The Prestige For A Fraction Of The Price.” Which is better than the new InfiLaw motto: “Nulla pretium eadem auctoritate.” We’ll see how good my Latin translator widget is.
Lawyers like to drink. They don’t call it a “JD” for nothing. But as a graduation gift, a case of PBR tall boys seems a bit gauche. It’s time to drink classy.
Is a lawyer having a good day or a bad day? This wine glass will let everyone know.
Sadly Bender Bound’s federal reporter volume that can also hide a flask of a favorite beverage appears to be discontinued (though you can still get a handsome Sherlock Holmes volume or this Edgar Allan Poe collection to perform the same task). But you can still get your law grad a commemorative flask!
If the grad’s liquid drug of choice is caffeine, there are some cute legally-themed coffee mugs out there. For example, this Supreme Court case mug displays famous cases when cold, and shows only shortened names when filled with hot liquid. It’s like the blue mountains on a Coors Light in reverse! Another mug with the same qualities is the Disappearing Civil Liberties mug, which shows the Bill of Rights when cold and erases those getting compromised daily when filled up and hot.
Or for the more honest out there, we have this World’s Okayest Lawyer Mug.
This is, admittedly, not my best category to set up since the only scenario where I’d wear a ring is if I’ve, in fact, won a Super Bowl. Thankfully I have colleagues who can help me out on this one.
Our own columnist Niki Black has an array of jewelry available at Legally Boho. I was drawn to this clockface bracelet. Nothing like a clock on your wrist that never moves to remind you that you could be billing more!
The hackneyed option is Oh, the Places You’ll Go! But come on, let’s get original. Maybe it’s my newfound interest in the legal significance of Dr. Seuss, but I’d go with Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories. The tale of Yertle’s unrealistic demands at the expense of the minions he trods upon is just the thing to prepare the grad for a career in Biglaw.
Now this book is awesome! All the author’s New York bar exam notes illustrated with delightful cartoon stick figures. The New York Bar Picture Book may not replace their bar prep course, but it’s a fun and useful study aid.
How about the collected wit and wisdom of Mark Twain on lawyers?
There’s also The New Yorker Book of Lawyer Cartoons if your grad is the sort who wants to say, “Hey, I’m a lawyer, and I’m also pretentious.”
You can also, of course, pick up Supreme Ambitions by our own David Lat.
Everyone needs socks.
Look, the law school graduate probably already has some professional attire — they did interview after all — so maybe you should get them something to wear when they relax. For a day every six months or so.
Like this Better Call Saul t-shirt. For It’s Always Sunny fans, they can proudly proclaim their specialty in bird law. And while many law grads shuffle off to an Am Law 200 firm, for the small or solo inclined, here’s a Nelson & Murdock shirt.
For the dressier occasion, these “Equal Justice” cufflinks are available on Etsy
How about lawyer refrigerator poetry? Perhaps you feel this is more literary than artistic, but admit it — your refrigerator poetry is more for show than publication isn’t it?
Look, when it comes to art, nothing tops dogs playing poker. Thus, I bring you “dogs being lawyers” in Breach of Promise Suit.
It doesn’t get classier than that.
Feel free to email us other suggestions!