New Lawer in the Family
November 30, 2009 4:34 PM   Subscribe

I have just been invited to an open house to honor a distant relative that has just passed his Bar examination. Is a gift expected and if so what would be good for a new lawyer?
posted by Raybun to Human Relations (16 answers total)
A distant relative who passed the bar? I'd say no gift is required. But if you want to get a gift, I'd avoid those corny books about how lame lawyers are/1001 lawyer jokes or something. However, I'm sure all the tried and true gifts (an engraved copy of Black's Legal Dictionary, business card holder) will have been snapped up by closer relatives. Something of general interest is probably your best bet--a year-long subscription to the Wall St. Journal, maybe?

If you're from one of those families which value thoughtful gifts, you could give a donation in the new lawyer's honor to a relevant service organization (i.e., a local chapter of Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, an organization for legal defense, or housing matters, etc.). Do you have any details about the young lawyer's interests or prospects?

IANYL. This is not gift giving advice.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 4:45 PM on November 30, 2009 [2 favorites]

Bottle of a favorite booze. "To be placed in the top drawer at your office," you'll tell him.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:49 PM on November 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

I don't think you need to bring anything, but one nice idea might be a bottle of good champagne with a note instructing him to use it to celebrate his first legal victory. Speaking as a lawyer who received a fair number of useless legal-themed gifts, I would avoid giving anything that has the *gag* scales of justice on it. He'll be getting plenty of those.
posted by HotToddy at 4:50 PM on November 30, 2009

If you did want to go the stupid jokes route, a police radio scanner. Probably not so good if you don't know him that well, though.
posted by ctmf at 4:57 PM on November 30, 2009

Or to take Cool Papa Bell's suggestion to the next level, a copy of Black's Legal Dictionary that you've hollowed out to fit your favorite booze inside!

If you gave me that, I would have thought you were the coolest cat in Awesometown.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 5:01 PM on November 30, 2009 [9 favorites]

I'm totally boring, I know, but never get tired of really nice pens. Would love to have gotten one or more of those.

It is nice to get a small book of significant documents like the US Constitution and Bill of Rights, too.
posted by bearwife at 5:05 PM on November 30, 2009

I don't think you can EVER go wrong with a bottle of booze for a gift..... Unless they're recovering alcoholics. Or religiously averse.
posted by Scientifik at 5:17 PM on November 30, 2009

Yeah, booze. A really nice bottle of whiskey, maybe?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:25 PM on November 30, 2009

Lawyer = single malt scotch.
posted by spilon at 5:26 PM on November 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

Lawyer = single malt scotch.

Good point.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:31 PM on November 30, 2009

My inner Ann Landers is telling me that no gift is required. HOWEVER...if you think you may ever want some legal help or advice, a decent bottle should get you on the buddy list.
posted by snsranch at 5:34 PM on November 30, 2009

As a 2L, I'm going to second the hollowed-out Black's with a bottle of booze. Failing that... just a bottle of booze.
posted by ewiar at 5:57 PM on November 30, 2009

As for the scotch, let me recommend Oban if you don't have your own favorite. Oh how I loves me some Oban.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 7:47 PM on November 30, 2009

Yeah lawyers love alcohol, but I hate scotch, but most of my male lawyer friends love scotch, so it's a judgement call. As a new female lawyer I would prefer wine or vodka. Good vodka.
posted by whoaali at 7:51 PM on November 30, 2009

A biography of Chief Justice John Marshall, who established the US Supreme Court's right to overrule the other branches and government and is thereby responsible for much of what we consider the structure of the American legal system.

A biography of Justice Thurgood Marshall who was rejected from prominent law schools because of the color of his skin and who went on to win court rulings outlaw those and other discriminatory practices.

Or, if you want something more lighthearted, a bell. You can tell your distant relative that it's a "bar bell". Guaranteed good for one laugh. (I speak from experience, having given this gift to more than one recently minted attorney.)
posted by alms at 8:10 PM on November 30, 2009

As a matter of etiquette, gifts are never required, but there's never anything wrong with giving a gift.
posted by EarBucket at 9:05 AM on December 1, 2009

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