Not a briefcase: what's a good gift for a graduating law student?
May 7, 2008 12:58 PM   Subscribe

My partner is graduating from law school and I'd like to get a really nice gift for her. The caveat: she's adamant that she doesn't want a briefcase. Any ideas?

Alcohol-related gifts are also out. I'm not sure if this helps, but she'll be working in DC for a federal agency.
posted by anotherpanacea to Shopping (22 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Jewelry! Like some classic diamond studs (earrings). She could wear them to work and also out at night.
posted by Penelope at 1:04 PM on May 7, 2008

How about an iPod engraved with a personal message? If she's in DC she might be using the bus or the subway (don't know what they call it there, I'm from BART land) to get to work and it might be a great way to veg out during her infrequent breaks.

But there are some gorgeous briefcases for women out there, make sure if she doesn't get it as a gift she chooses one of the really nice ones and tell us if we can give you some suggestions.
posted by arnicae at 1:05 PM on May 7, 2008

My thinking may be entirely out on this, and it's based on my own experience and not yours, but if it were my wife, I'd be thinking that she'd want to feel really, really confident and great about herself when she needs to perform under pressure in court or elsewhere. Or just when the going's got really crap.

So I'd be forking out on some really nice underwear for her.

(It's important that it's her definition of nice operating here.)
posted by dowcrag at 1:10 PM on May 7, 2008

The Dischord back catalogue? If you get all the half-releases (of course I include release #33 1/3 in that group), it would be very nice indeed.

How about a series a gift certificates for dinners around DC, so that you get to know the place?

Depending on how much you want to spend, it might be a nice time to get a decent piece of art, even a well-framed print, that she can pick out.

An expensive but awesome gift would be the full OED, not condensed. Also very nice would be the Shorter OED (I think that's the two-volume one).

You could get season tickets to the Shakespeare Theater, which is quite good.

If she doesn't have a bike, that would be a nice gift, as biking in Rock Creek on weekends is a really nice thing to be able to do.
posted by OmieWise at 1:18 PM on May 7, 2008

What about a spa trip or a short vacation? If I were graduating from law school, about to go into a full-time job, what I'd want more than anything is a little break.
posted by missjenny at 1:20 PM on May 7, 2008

Another job-appropriate gift would be a very nice pen. Not sure if she would go for a fountain pen or a ball point, but nice pens can be both functional and little works of art. Possibly even engraved with her name and graduation date? For momentous occasions like this, I feel like the best gifts are the ones that will a) last a long time, and b) actually be useful in a everyday setting.
posted by Osrinith at 1:20 PM on May 7, 2008

Seconding a spa/vacation or the pen, but not just any pen, a SmartPen.

And a card that spells out in detail how proud you are, and how happy. Even if you tell her every day, written confirmation/appreciation can mean the world when someone has worked as hard as she has to get to this point.
posted by barchan at 1:40 PM on May 7, 2008

Jewelry - my then boyfriend got me a necklace from -- and I get compliments on it every single time I wear it.

Frame her diplomas nicely for her office. Or some really nice bookends (something I wish I had for my office). Or some original artwork (maybe from etsy) for her office.

These are things that will last forever (unlike an Ipod or a trip) to always remind her that you're proud.
posted by dpx.mfx at 1:48 PM on May 7, 2008

I definitely think a nice pair of earrings or necklace. I have a nice pair of pearls that my dad gave me, and I wear them almost every day. They instantly make me feel "grown up" and pulled together.
posted by radioamy at 1:51 PM on May 7, 2008

How about something to help get her through the bar exam jitters, such as chocolate, coffee, No-Doze, stress-ball (one of those squeezy things), pre-loaded Starbucks/other food cards, movie passes for study breaks, and a copy of "My Cousin Vinnie" - one of the most realistic (in terms of applying the civil procedure and evidence rules) legal movies ever made.

Graduating from law school is the easy part; now all you've got to do is get her through the bar exam. Good luck.
posted by webhund at 2:04 PM on May 7, 2008

The Phaidon Atlas of Contemporary World Architecture is a beautiful book that comes in a clear briefcase. Funny and pretty? Great coffee table book for her new office. A year-long subscription to a book-on-CD club would be something that I would love to get, never buy for myself, and never ask someone else to buy for me (but it would have made a great graduation gift).
posted by Eringatang at 2:30 PM on May 7, 2008

A super elegant watch, suitable for work, is the perfect graduation gift, in my experience.
posted by Riverine at 2:31 PM on May 7, 2008

a simple pair of pearl or diamond studs would be perfect. likewise, a 16" string of pearls. a nice watch.

in the work-related sphere, a pretty engraved business-card case would be a nice choice.
posted by thinkingwoman at 2:41 PM on May 7, 2008

I second the nice pen.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:30 PM on May 7, 2008

Fountain pen. Nowadays they're made to accept ink cartridges instead of requiring a separate ink well. Engrave it maybe?
posted by backseatpilot at 3:45 PM on May 7, 2008

I agree with the pen.
posted by jabberjaw at 4:00 PM on May 7, 2008

I don't know what working for the feds is like, but I know that when my dad started at his first firm, we basically didn't see him for two years. I would strongly, strongly urge you to say "screw the loans" and do the vacation.

If this is not 100-hour weeks, then yeah, bring on on little boxes. Don't forget the estate sale option, depending on her style.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:08 PM on May 7, 2008

I'm a law student, and the black pearl earrings that my boyfriend got me for my birthday during 1L year were awesome in that I wore them for every interview I had because they were appropriate, but they also functioned as kind of a good luck charm and a reminder that someone loved me (things that were important when you're being questioned about why exactly someone would want you to work for them, lol, and may serve a similar function for her when she's going to trial or whatever she'll be doing).

So I second the suggestions of jewelry, something nice and classic, pearl studs, diamond studs, pearl necklace, or watch.
posted by wuzandfuzz at 4:13 PM on May 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

A custom tailored suit or set of shirts, so she can look great and feel confident at work.
posted by clearlydemon at 5:00 PM on May 7, 2008

I second a working week's worth of smoking hot power underwear - black lace, garter, stockings, the works.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 5:51 AM on May 8, 2008

I 15th or so the pen. Actually, I'd vote for a nice pair of pens with a pen stand for her desk, with a suitably engraved plaque. They are practical, they make a great and very attorney-like bit of desk decor, and even an computer-centric attorney needs pens.
posted by lhauser at 2:20 PM on May 8, 2008

Thanks all for the advice: I went with flowers, and the Superhero Designs necklace, though I think I might retroactively make the Shakespeare Theater season pass a graduation gift because that sounds awesome, and hey, what fun would it be for her if I didn't come along? :-)
posted by anotherpanacea at 9:48 AM on May 12, 2008

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