Biglaw, Holidays and Seasons, Paralegals, Secretaries / Administrative Assistants

Further Thoughts: The Time for Giving (to your Secretary/Administrative Staff)

Secretary.jpgLast week, we posted an open thread to discuss end-of-the-year gift giving to your secretary and/or paralegal. We’ve waded through the many comments to fish out some points of consensus.

  • A few secretaries appeared on the thread to urge associates to give cash or an AmEx/Visa gift card equivalent, and not a gift card to a specific restaurant, bookstore or department store. As one secretary says, “if you decide on giving gift certificates/store cards – I sincerely hope your next bonus will be paid in the same currency.”
  • New York appears to have its own scale. Even with the bonus slash, many associates are still giving their secretaries $100 per each year the associate has worked at the firm.
  • For those outside of New York, your little gift bundle of holiday joy can stay in the $100-250 range, with junior associates giving about $100, mid-levels giving about $150, and senior associates giving $200+.
  • In case comments are not indicative of general trends, here are some polls to see what your peers are doing. New York is its own world, and gets its own poll:

    And what about the trend across the rest of the country?

    One commenter says that even if you have a bad secretary, “one of those ‘can’t make a copy’ people,” associates should still give a small gift, but should not feel obligated to give a hefty cash bonus.

    More polls — about who you are giving to, and how to handle gift-giving if you’ve changed secretaries — after the jump.


    Quite a few people faced this dilemma:

    What should I do if I had a different secretary for most of the year and just got mine in the last month or so (I did not change firms, just got reassigned a new secretary). Should I split the gift between both, or just give it to the new one?

    Finally, if you are giving cash, what’s the protocol?

    Earlier: Open Thread: The Time for Giving (to your Secretary/Administrative Staff)

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