UPDATED FOR 2015! 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.
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 being modern and throwback.
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.
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.
Whether the grad is a chess aficionado, or just seeking a conversation starter to place in his or her new office, this legal-themed chess set from Approach the Bench is a winner. The set includes a customizable plaque to commemorate the occasion.
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. And then there’s the classic Hornswoggle “The Old Legal Game”.
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.
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 compromised in recent years when filled up and hot.
Or for the more honest of you out there, we have this World’s Okayest Lawyer Mug.
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.
There’s also The New Yorker Book of Lawyer Cartoons if you want to say, “Hey, you’re a lawyer, and you’re also pretentious.”
You can also, of course, pick up Supreme Ambitions by our own David Lat.
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.
And last but not least, we’d be remiss to overlook the stylings from Courthouses of America, who produce fine prints showcasing the classic architecture of courthouses across the country.
Feel free to email us other suggestions!