UPDATED FOR 2023!!!
We’ve done this gift guide for a number of years now and, generally, the process is simple: consider the broad categories of gifts you might want to get the fickle lawyer or law student in your life and update the previous edition with the hot new offerings.
As always, we’ve categorized everything so you can either peruse the whole post or click on the link below to jump directly to the category that you think best suits your shopping mission:
(Disclosure: When available, we have used affiliate links.)
Do you have a reader on your hands? Of course you do, you’re buying for an attorney! Grab a nice book to curl up with this holiday season — or to read on their next flight to some far-flung deposition.
Professor Stephen Vladeck blows the lid off the Supreme Court’s covert efforts to rewrite constitutional order in The Shadow Docket. Can’t leak opinions when they’re unexplained orders!
Professor Nancy Scherer covers the phony politicization that’s grown up around efforts to diversify the federal bench in Scoring Points. The author did an interview with Above the Law that you can hear here.
What do you know about Diego Garcia? If you’re like most folks the answer is not very much. Professor Philippe Sands explains why everyone should care more about this island in the Indian Ocean in The Last Colony.
Looking for a satirical look at the ongoing corruption of academia at the hands of monied interests? In his new novel St. Sebastian School of Law, Tim Greaney, Professor Emeritus at Saint Louis University School of Law and currently at UC Law San Francisco takes his experience inside the legal academy and spins a tale of professor who “tries to find meaning in the ‘Rule of Law.'”
Recovering attorney turned comedy writer Kashana Cauley published The Survivalists earlier this year about a single Black lawyer falling into a crowd of traumatized, “illegal-gun-stockpiling, optimized-soy-protein-eating, bunker-building roommates.”
Last year, we included For the Love of the Bard by attorney Jessica Martin, part 1 of a story about an author hijacked into directing a local Shakespearean performance and potentially finding love along the way. Book 2, The Dane of My Existence is now available.
The third edition of Richard Susskind’s Tomorrow’s Lawyers peers into the future of lawyering from hot topics like the integration of AI tools to ruminations on the future of selling legal services into the 21st century. Also on the tech front, Colin Levy just put out The Legal Tech Ecosystem covering both the tech and the mindset shifts lawyers need to undergo to apply it.
If you’re buying for an ATL fan, several of our columnists have books too. Your Debt-Free JD by Jonathan Wolf guides prospective law students through the process of getting a degree that doesn’t break the bank while D.W. Randolph’s Big Law Confidential delves into what it’s really like to work in Biglaw for those already weighing their career path. Tahmina Watson’s The Startup Visa probably isn’t a gift (or maybe it is… who am I to judge the level of sentimentality in your gift-giving relationship) but it’s a great resource for immigration law.
And, of course, we still recommend Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy’s Guide to the Constitution, by former Above the Law Executive Editor Elie Mystal.
With the legal industry slowly returning to the road, this is an amazing gift for any traveling attorney. It’s a portable monitor extension, giving you the multiple monitor lifestyle from your laptop. You can find a number of models based on the size of the laptop involved.
Speaking of travel, these are only a couple of many options, but consider giving the gift of noise-cancelling earbuds or headphones. Or you can get some Airpods without the cool firm branding. Home brings distractions and lawyers need to drown that all out and bill some time.
The legal profession has already cut a lot of paper out of its workflow, but there are several tools out there to move notes to the digital world ranging from the eminently affordable Rocketbook to the fully featured ReMarkable2.
Have you considered how many devices attorneys need? If you have, then you might imagine the home office is a tangle of power cords befitting an Aliens set. This can help with a whopping ELEVEN OUTLETS. Or maybe you don’t need outlets at all with a wireless charging mouse pad. And if they lose those devices, consider some Tiles, the tracking devices that make sure you never lose anything important like keys or briefcases full of sensitive client documents.
We also still love the Ember Mug allows the user to set the ideal temperature for their coffee or tea — and then keeps it there.
apparel & accessories
The “ugly sweater party” phenomenon isn’t exactly my cup of tea, but if you know a lawyer who enjoys them, this is pretty amazing. It sure beats putting “allegedly” on some other articles of clothing.
ESK Esq. has a whole line of apparel for the lawyer out there including a stylized view of glorious Blackacre of Property Law fame and an International Shoe logo for Civ Pro nerds. If you’re buying for a law student this season, consider this shirt featuring the refrain of law students everywhere.
What about a foul-mouthed lawyer? We’ve got that covered too.
Here’s a shirt for every good Sunny fan who knows the benefit of a solid education in Bird Law. Now that Daredevil is back in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, here’s a Nelson & Murdock shirt and one for the She-Hulk fans. If your lawyer is cruising for a disciplinary referral, there’s always this WWSD shirt. There’s also this cute Attorneys Assemble shirt (available on mugs and posters too).
It’s not so much a “game” but the Magnetic Poetry set lawyer edition.
Returning to the office means returning to the kitchen or cafeteria stocked with goodies. But in the hybrid working world, you’ll still have to handle your own snacks some days. So how about a super mini-fridge to keep your home office stocked. It’s portable and plugs in to keep things cool (or warm). It’s not much bigger than a lunchbox, but it can keep you covered for the day.
What better way to get into the holiday spirit than to enjoy some holiday spirits? Caskers, founded by Harvard Law grads, curates all varieties of the best craft spirits from around the world and offers discounts of up to 40% of retail prices.
Chocolate Text lets you send chocolate messages to anyone you desire. Personally, I’d go for “You’ve Been Served.” You can also order a “Selfie Tin.” Simply upload a picture and Chocolate Text places it on a tin of your choice of sweet treats. The perfect place for that photo of your favorite lawyer shaking hands with a Supreme Court justice or walking up to get their degree.
If you know someone who worked in the Trump administration, might we suggest this gift.
Someday, lawyers will get back to spending most of their lives behind their desks, so why not spice up the office a little? Sure they might appreciate a framed picture of their loved ones, but these thoughtful trinkets might make for better conversation pieces.
These candles from Anecdote Candles make for nice office gifts. There are a few options like the “Two Weeks Notice — Smells like burn out and peace out.” LuckyCactus offers the intriguing “Smells Like A MF’ing Attorney In This Bitch,” which I’m almost terrified to smell. Another candle option available through Amazon is a bit more celebratory of lawyering.
Help the lawyer you love sit in style. This is a stylish swivel chair that emphasizes the home in home office and will not look out of place when the lawyer goes back to having to have people over. If they aren’t the sort who worries about that sort of thing — or if they have a dedicated office space that doesn’t need to match the decor — they might appreciate the more modern ergonomic office chair look or this super old school leather lawyer chair look.
Or it you’re a partner just get the Herman Miller. I’ve sat in these a bunch and it’s like you’re sending a love note to your ass.
Lawyers aren’t like other professions, so why are we using the same keyboard as other professions? LegalType has a lawyer-specific mechanical keyboards and key caps available.
If they need a home desk — which most lawyers probably have by now, but law grads starting new jobs in 2023 might not — this is a nice entry-level home option that gets the job done without overwhelming the studio apartment.
And then there are Funko Pops. You know, those big head toys that seem to be everywhere these days. They even make Golden Girls Funko Pops now, which seems like the border of market saturation. These Matt Murdock and She-Hulk ones are legit collectors item at this point. There’s a Citadel-dwelling Lawyer Morty from Rick and Morty. And, obviously, there are pricey Saul Goodman and Jimmy McGill models. For that matter, Abraham Lincoln was a lawyer.
Someone at CafePress has a billable hours clock available to mix decor with some wit.
The ScanFast Briefcase from Mobile Edge is a TSA-compliant laptop bag that allows the traveler to keep their laptop inside their bag while passing through TSA security checkpoints. This makes traveling with your laptop simple while keeping your laptop secure.
For a less standard design, check out this option (which also comes in three other color combinations). The bag is still TSA-compliant and boasts rich pink suede and brown faux-leather exterior highlighted by a bright color-accented satin lining. A matching shoulder strap, separate zippered workstation for files, and a trolley strap for rolling luggage included. Carries a Lifetime Warranty!
Seriously, peruse all of the Mobile Edge offerings while shopping.
If you come across any more cool holiday gift ideas for attorneys, send them our way! We’re always looking to add more to the annual guide.
Joe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.