Shopping For Others

If you still need to do holiday shopping for a lawyer or law student in your life, we’ve got you covered. Just check out our ATL Holiday Gift Guide (sponsored).

What about holiday gifts for secretaries or administrative assistants? In the past week or so, our lawyer readers have been writing to us seeking guidance.

With all due respect to Marin’s hilarious list, secretaries do not want “scented candles, Josh Groban CDs, or Cirque du Soleil tickets.” They want straight cash, homey.

But how much cash should you give? And what, if anything, should you give to paralegals and other support staff you work with? Let’s discuss, then take a few polls at the end….

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Well, the bonus scale has been set. Cravath led — by copying their bonus payments from last year — and now everybody is following. I’m on record saying that these bonuses are underwhelming and disappointing.

Gone are the days where the first-year bonus represented a significant chunk of your law school debt. Sure, you can pay down some interest with your bonuses, or you can prudently save it, or maybe even invest it. But you can also blow it. I mean, it’s a “bonus,” right? In this depressed market, your bonuses look less like deferred compensation and more like “found money.” Instead of making a fiscally sound decision, using your bonuses for profligate, discretionary spending might make you feel better. (Disclosure: Elie Mystal is not a registered financial adviser and is too… stupid to follow a budget.)

Bonuses range from $10,000 for first-year associates to $60,000 for senior people. Professor Paul Caron of Tax Prof Blog tells me that associates can expect to take home about 60% percent of that, depending on where they live and how many dependents they have.

What can a young lawyer buy with that? In addition to what’s in the ATL holiday gift guide, here are 10 things…

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Did you catch 60 Minutes last night? Did you at least catch the 60 Minutes promos during various awesome football games this weekend?

On last night’s program, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos declared that Amazon intends to send drones to your house to deliver packages. I’m pretty sure this is the only strategy that would be ultimately effective in Afghanistan. Instead of using drones to bomb people, if we were sending HD televisions, water, and vacuum cleaners, you’d see that region become much more amenable to America. At the very least, sending people things from the ATL holiday gift guide (sponsored) is better than sending them warheads.

But the thought of Amazon drones dropping consumerism on us from the sky should be pretty terrifying to Americans. How would that even work? I live in an apartment building… the humans often don’t know where to leave my packages. Watching Bezos, all I could think of was angry robots shooting copies of the Washington Post at me through my window while I read news on the internet.

Luckily, the Amazon plan is currently illegal. And it’s likely to stay completely unworkable…

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‘Who needs a bonus? We have these nifty red hats!’

The holiday season is upon us, and yet again, you have no idea what to get for the fickle lawyer in your life. We’re here to help. Even if your bonus check hasn’t arrived yet, any one of the gifts we’ve highlighted here could be a worthy substitute until your employer decides to make it rain.

We’ve got an eclectic selection for you to choose from, so settle in by that stack of documents yet to be reviewed and dig in….

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I see you all enjoyed your vacations. I saw the 175 pictures you posted on Facebook of every single place you went, and now I see you “can’t believe your baby is starting 7th grade.” So now that it’s time to get back to work and figure out what to do about all those clients calling you as a result of seeing you on the first page of Google, I will again offer you life-changing advice for which you come here weekly.

This advice is all real, and in no particular order.

1. If you have an office, or even a desk, take every single thing off the top. I did this the other day. Clean it, and then place everything back, except the stack of papers that belong in a file or the garbage, the magazines and articles you’re never going to read, and the items that do nothing but take up otherwise workable space. This will cost you no money, take about 15-20 minutes, and you will thank me. Well, not all of you…

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* Want to know another thing that’s causing Biglaw to implode? All of these huge partner compensation spreads we’ve told you about are creating a “star culture,” and even law firm partners are capable of jealousy. [Am Law Daily]

* It looks like Charleston School of Law is the latest institution of legal education to be enticed and swallowed up into the for-profit InfiLaw System. Will a sale be next? We’ll have more info on these developments later today. [Post and Courier]

* Sorry, but in Pennsylvania, you cannot represent clients on a quid pro blow basis. You could get suspended for a year, like this guy. Wonder what his retainer agreement looked like. [Legal Intelligencer]

* The sole minority juror from the George Zimmerman trial — the one who was liable to allow the jury to be hung — is now telling the world she thought the acquitted “got away with murder.” [ABC News]

* Lawyers for accused kidnapper Ariel Castro are considering a deal offered by prosecutors that takes the death penalty off the table. He might be able to enjoy some ribs in prison if he’s there for life. [CNN]

* Neiman Marcus settled a case with a divorcée whose ex-husband was allegedly cheating on her with a saleswoman. You really can return anything, up to $1.4 million in value! [FDLuxe / Dallas Morning News]

It’s just nice clothing. There’s nothing to be afraid of.

Are you afraid of fashion? You’re not alone.

Many male lawyers would rather not deal with picking clothes. These attorneys can negotiate billion-dollar deals or address juries without fear, but the concept of “business casual” fills them with terror.

If you count yourself among the fashion-impaired — or if you see yourself as stylish, but in need of a wardrobe expansion — here are two lawyers who can help….

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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…

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Ed. note: This is the fourth installment in a new series of monthly posts, brought to you by Corporette’s Kat Griffin, which will deal with topical business and lifestyle issues that present themselves in the world of Biglaw. Send your ideas for columns to us here.

For those of you who don’t know, it’s that time of the year: time to tell the world how much you love your assistant that you’re a great manager by showering your assistant with gifts. Technically the “holiday” runs the entire last full week in April, but Administrative Professionals’ Day itself is Wednesday, April 24.

What’s the deal?

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Ladies, are you looking to spruce up your wardrobe this spring? Whether you’re a law student hoping to interview for jobs, a partner in pursuit of a lateral opportunity, or an unemployed law grad waiting for an opportunity, it’s always important to look your very best. Because our last Gilt Group sale for men went so well, we thought we’d give our female readers a chance to enjoy some opulent fashion bliss.

Working together with MIKA, a high-end shopping website that uses cutting-edge technology to present coveted luxury goods to its customers, we’ve put together a special sale just for Above the Law readers.

We kept women working in Biglaw firms in mind for this fashion spread, right down to the model — she’s a T14 law student. This is your chance to snap up sharp and sophisticated clothing, footwear, and accessories from some of the most fabulous names in womenswear (e.g., Nicole Miller, Nanette Lepore, Cynthia Rowley).

Check it out by clicking the image above. There are only three days left on this sale, so act now.

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