What should I get my sister for her law school graduation?
April 10, 2012 6:25 AM   Subscribe

My sister is graduating from law school. I've just realized I should probably get her a gift. But what?!

I feel silly that I haven't really realized that as a grown-up, I should probably get her something for her graduation (besides my presence at the ceremony!). And even more so that I have NO IDEA what to get her.

My budget is low. Somewhere below $100, I'd prefer closer to $50.

Context: We come from a family packed with lawyers, and I spent a few years working in law offices, which adds to my embarrassment of not being able to think of anything suitable. We're weird and quirky folks, but I can't really rely on having the time to find the perfect antique oddity to give her. She will, with any luck, be working in the non-profit/public defense sector.

I'm pretty particular about buying things in general, and would rather not get her anything than something generic and/or poorly-made. So, for example, a lovely little *thing* from Tiffany or Hermes (lol with my budget) would be preferable to a generic, say, leather legal pad folder with her initials on it (of which she already has TWO as other gifts). I'm quite sure she's not expecting anything from me and she's not especially materialistic, so I don't really need to compromise on this. I'd just love to surprise her with something nice. I'm not averse to trawling eBay, either. I just need ideas!

So, help me out, here. Other potentially relavent infos: she's into religious (Catholic) kitsch/artifacts, she's a big Latin nerd, and we're planning for a pretty epic backpacking/hiking trip in the next year or so. I'd prefer to get her something specifically law- or career- related for this particular gift, but something somehow relating to one or the other of those things might be ok. She may or may not already have a nice fancy pen; I don't want to get her a generic "fountain pen." If she were a man I would get her some monogrammed collar stays or vintage sterling cufflinks or something like that. I do not wear suits; is there a womanly equivalent?

Anonymous because she's a Mefite (via her awesome older sister, of course). Hopefully she just doesn't see this question!
posted by anonymous to Shopping (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Does she already have a job lined up?
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 6:33 AM on April 10, 2012

Check out her law school's swag. My parents got me a frame for my diploma, currently hanging in my office. I got myself a fleece with the law school logo that I still wear all the time. I guarantee you, they'll have a bunch of stuff that would make a suitable gift.

If you want to work the Catholic angle, something relatively classy related to St. Thomas More, the patron saint of lawyers. I'm not Catholic, so I don't have any specific recommendations as to what might be appropriate there, but that's the ballpark.

If her law school happens to be Catholic--and there are actually a decent handful that are--the first recommendation will also probably have something related to the second.
posted by valkyryn at 6:37 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Just a thought --- you could get her a gift now, or you could get her a gift when she passes the bar exam. In many ways that's the real milestone.

If your sister likes dumb jokes you could buy her a charm bracelet or necklace with a small bell. Get it, "bar - bell"? I actually did this for a couple of friends and the gesture was appreciated. But then, I'm known for that sort of thing.

For something more serious you could get her a biography of John Marshall, the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court responsible for the Court's ability to overturn laws passed by Congress.

(I looked for a bio of the first Catholic Justice, but nothing interesting there.)
posted by alms at 6:41 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you can go up $25 (from your original stretched $100 budget) and want to get her something from Tiffany & Co., these silver ball earrings would be nice for a lawyer.
posted by 200burritos at 6:45 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

What about a St. Thomas Moore pendant? She probably knows he's the patron saint of lawyers.

She might also like an office doodad festooned with the Carbolic Smoke Ball ad -- trust me, she'll get it.

And while it's not Tiffany's, Etsy has a variety of unique and pretty business card holders and cases; perhaps you can get one personalized for her new desk.

For my graduation, my mother got me a sewing machine and my own badass mefi older sister got me a wheelie briefcase that I use all the time. Your sister will love anything you get her, promise!
posted by mibo at 7:12 AM on April 10, 2012

A gift card for her favorite restaurant, in a card that reads- Celebration Dinner for when you pass the bar.
posted by myselfasme at 7:15 AM on April 10, 2012

Etsy has some cool scales of justice jewelry. A nice watch would be a good and useful gift (one with gps tracking for the hiking trip?), or a letter opener (surprisingly useful for a paperwork-driven occupation). Will she have a public transit commute? If so, then a Kindle might be nice.
posted by melissasaurus at 7:15 AM on April 10, 2012

She might also like an office doodad festooned with the Carbolic Smoke Ball ad -- trust me, she'll get it.

Or -- OR -- you can get her her very own Carbolic Smoke Ball!

There are other lawyerly gifts on that site. Frankly, I would skip all that, and go for something practical, like a nice messenger bag. Or Scotch.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:26 AM on April 10, 2012

How about a Free Legal Advice Hand-Grenade.
posted by Flood at 7:35 AM on April 10, 2012

A nice business card case?
posted by chickenmagazine at 8:11 AM on April 10, 2012

Latin Harry Potter? Perfect for a bit of light reading between cases!
posted by mlle valentine at 8:18 AM on April 10, 2012

In my office, I have the following things which were given to me as gifts, all of which I use and cherish: Black's Law dictionary (signed inside); Garner's A dictionary of Modern Legal usage (signed inside); two waterford crystal paper weights; an engraved letter opener; a desk set that includes a magnifying glass, letter opener, and scissors; a leather briefcase; a pair of silver earrings; several picture frames; a framed quote that is meaningful to me; a sculpture my husband made out of seashells and wire; bookends.

All kinds of various price ranges in there!
posted by dpx.mfx at 8:25 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

For other lay(lawdegreeless)people like me, Carlill vs Cabolic Smoke Ball Company, 1893 was an important case that established promises made in advertisements were binding contracts, more or less. (Lawyers, you may begin feeding on this summary .... now!)
posted by IAmBroom at 9:53 AM on April 10, 2012

A nice briefcase and pen were probably my most treasured gifts from my law school graduation. Law school-labeled stuff is also good; I have a law school sweatshirt that I wear all the time, and since I live in a different state now, I'm not likely to be wandering through the bookstore again any time in the near future.
posted by craven_morhead at 11:22 AM on April 10, 2012

How about a nice desk nameplate with "HerName, Esquire"
posted by easily confused at 1:16 PM on April 10, 2012

I work for and with lawyers. I think this book Law Talk is pretty cool and the lawyers I've showed it to liked it as well. It's basically a thoroughly-researched look at where legal terms came from.

It costs $30, so maybe this and a bottle of wine?
posted by tacodave at 4:01 PM on April 10, 2012

I still use the pen set my parents gave me when I graduated from law school a long time ago. It's engraved with my name and the date I graduated. I just use it for signing things and I think of my folks almost every time grab it.
posted by Sculthorpe at 8:42 PM on April 10, 2012

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