If you have a lawyer (or law student) in your life that you care about, you may be wondering just how to shop for their holiday gifts. We've used this space to highlight the stress and pressure of the profession before, and these issues are well-known. If you buy the counselor (or future counselor) in your life some way to help manage the stress of the profession, you'll be doing them (and yourself) a huge favor. With that in mind, here are our top ten 2021 gift picks for the attorney you care about.
Before we get to the list of particular items, the guidelines we used for selecting them are simple: they don't need anything expensive (lawyers do generally make money), they don't have much time (so big time commitments like trips or classes are a no-go), and they're very stressed. Obviously, you should feel free to buy them anything whether it's on our list or not, but those are good guidelines to keep in mind.
One last note: alcohol is a double-edged sword. A lot of folks love it and it can make for a great gift, but as we've highlighted previously, one third of attorneys qualify as problem drinkers, and booze may just add to their list of problems. You won't see any sauce on our list, but you know whether it's a good gift for your loved one or not.
It may be tough for an attorney or law student to find the 60 to 90 minutes needed for a massage, but the nice thing about this purchase is that they typically get to schedule the appointment themselves, which will allow them to try their best to find a spot to slot it into their busy schedule. The relaxation benefits of a massage, meanwhile, are well-documented, and there are few better ways to relieve the tension in the back, shoulders, and neck that come from sitting at a computer all day. You can do some research into local massage parlors if you like, and there's always Massage Envy, with locations all over the country. Their gift card link is here: https://www.massageenvy.com/gift-cards.
9. Audiobook: The Anxious Lawyer by Jeena Cho and Karen Gifford
This book is written by attorneys, for attorneys, and is specifically focused on how a busy lawyer or law student can carve out the time and space to integrate a mindfulness practice into their legal practice. When we were still practicing, we found meditation and other mindfulness practices to be incredibly helpful in dealing with the stress, and can personally recommend this particular book. If you happen to know they still prefer printed books (and have time to read them), obviously you can go that way, but we recommend an audiobook so they can listen during their commute or during some of the rote, repetitive tasks of their workday. Link here: https://www.amazon.com/The-Anxious-Lawyer-audiobook/dp/B01MDO0IQU/
8. Personal Scanner
This one is recommended because lawyers, like so many others, are getting more and more used to working from home. If the attorney in your life is muddling through taking photos with smartphone apps or, even worse, making trips to the office to scan in documents, this gift is perfect for kitting out their home office and helping them transmit the many documents they have to work with. There are several possibilities here, and we've chosen to link the newest version of the Fujitsu ScanSnap: https://www.amazon.com/Fujitsu-ScanSnap-Wireless-Mobile-Scanner/dp/B086FJV8BM/
7. Personal Shredder
The rationale here is much the same as the scanner: outfitting the home office to serve all of an attorney's needs. If they're handling client documents and need to dispose of them, the trash isn't good enough to preserve confidentiality. A high-security shredder like the one linked to here can save them trips to the office or other hassles in dealing with document disposal. https://www.amazon.com/Aurora-AU1210MA-Professional-Micro-Cut-Continuous/dp/B00GA6Y4XM/
Home office gear is certainly becoming a theme, but it *is* the middle of a pandemic and everyone is focused on working from home. If they're anything like we were, the lawyer in your life may sometimes forget to feed or hydrate themselves entirely, just spending the entire day holed up in the office in calls or meetings or otherwise bent over their computer. If you can put sustenance quite literally within arm's reach, you at least improve the chance they'll remember to eat something for lunch. https://www.amazon.com/RCA-RFR321-FR320-Refrigerator-Fridge-Stainless/dp/B00IR8H55A/
5. Yoga Mat
A decent yoga mat can unobtrusively lean against the wall in a home *or* normal office and be rolled out whenever an attorney wants to take a little stretch break. We recommend a pretty good one here (go too cheap and mats tear or slip). There are a LOT of options on this front, however, so feel free to shop around. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B088C2WWF8/
4. Meditation App Subscription
In keeping with the theme of helping them practice mindfulness, a yearlong subscription to a guided meditation app like Calm or Headspace can do wonders for the mental health of the lawyer you love. We can personally vouch for Headspace, and it has a host of three minute meditations that even the busiest person can find time for. https://www.headspace.com/buy/gift
3. Noise-Cancelling Headphones
These do double duty as a great gift for a home or regular office attorney, and they're even good for law students in a library or at home. One of the worst enemies to anyone's productivity is distraction, and a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones can block out ambient noise and allow them to focus on music, a call, or even just blissful silence, depending entirely on their own needs and wants at a given moment. There are many options here too, in terms of both price and quality. https://www.amazon.com/Sony-Noise-Cancelling-Headphones-WH1000XM3/dp/B07G4MNFS1/
2. Keurig Coffee Maker
No matter how well-intentioned or protective of their sleep schedule the attorney in your life might be, chances are good that not only could they use some caffeine, but that they'd like it portable and fast, fast, fast. Enter the Keurig, a little device that can fit on most desks and spit out a fresh cup of coffee in less than a minute. It won't do for coffee snobs, but it achieves its function admirably and is a great addition to a busy lawyer's home office. https://www.amazon.com/Keurig-K-Select-Strength-Control-Single-Serve/dp/B078M1YRBY/
1. A Hug
The single most important thing you can do for a lawyer or law student is remind them how much you care about them and that they're worth much more to you than their job. Above all else, make sure they know you love them and that your love, unlike their firm's, their boss', or a client's, doesn't depend on them billing hours and doing flawless legal work. Help them feel grounded and connected to people who care for them, and you'll be helping them out much more than any purchasable gift ever could.