It’s the most wonderful time of the year… for a legal secretary / administrative assistant. Law firm partners are getting their end-of-year distributions, associates are getting their bonuses, and some of this bounty will be shared with their secretaries, in the form of Christmas — er, holiday — gifts.

What should you get your secretary as a holiday present? It’s a familiar question that comes up every year. Here’s an open thread where you can discuss and compare notes with your peers. We’ve also included a reader poll at the end of the post.

Let’s start the conversation with some preliminary observations….

For starters, replace the question of “what” with “how much.” Secretaries are just like us: they want cold hard cash (or a strong equivalent thereof).

Last year, Marin offered a rather hilarious list of gifts that secretaries want. Here’s an excerpt:

Read the full list here. But don’t follow Marin’s advice unless you like misaddressed FedEx packages, egregious typos (well you do read ATL), and being ratted out rather than covered for when it’s 11 a.m., you haven’t rolled in yet, and that partner calls looking for you.

For the irony-impaired among you: no, of course secretaries don’t want scented candles. They like the smell of cash (or a strong cash equivalent, like an Amex or Visa gift card — not even a gift card to a specific store). In the words of one secretary, if you give something other than cash, “May your next bonus be paid in that same currency.”

Okay, so you’ve wisely decided to give cash. How much should you dole out?

Opinions vary. Back in 2008, we took two polls — one for New York associates, one for non-NYC folks. The consensus seemed to be in the $100 to $250 range, but other scales — e.g., $100 a year for every year you’ve been at the firm — were proposed.

How much are you spending this year on total holiday gifts for your secretary — or secretaries, plural, for those of you who are supported by multiple assistants — and other support staff (such as paralegals)? Please discuss in the comments, and vote in our poll:

Approximately how much are you spending in total on holiday gifts for support staff?

View Results

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Earlier: Pls Hndle Thx: What Secretaries Want
Open Thread: Making the Holidays Happy for Your Secretary / Administrative Staff
Further Thoughts: The Time for Giving (to your Secretary/Administrative Staff)
Open Thread: The Time for Giving (to your Secretary/Administrative Staff)


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