Well, the holidays are upon us, so the hunt begins in earnest to find the right gifts for lawyers. Lawyers are a singularly difficult group of people to find gifts for and--almost to a person—they really don’t like any gift with the trite “scales of justice” slapped on it. To help their families and friends, I began publishing the Holiday Gift Guide for lawyers in 2005.
This year completes a decade of providing this service to friends and family of lawyers. Each year I gather new ideas from my fellow bar members, and peruse the latest and greatest items for lawyers across the internet and beyond. I now get hundreds of emails annually from people and companies who want "in" on the gift guide. Only one or two make it because most, well, they just don’t understand lawyers. So after a year of fun searching, I am pleased to share with you the 2014 Holiday Gift Guide for Lawyers:
The LiveScribe Sky Wifi SmartPen can record both your handwritten notes and audio, and then automatically transfer these to your Evernote account for use and playback on almost any type of computing device. Tap anywhere on your notes and to replay the audio from that exact point in time. Great for lawyers during depositions, witness prep, CLE lecture, or just about anywhere!
If Supreme Court justices can have their own bobble heads, why shouldn’t that supreme lawyer in your life have one too? Custom bobble heads are fun and affordable, and from the ones I’ve seen, accurately capture their subject. About $100 from Bobblebobble.com.
The tablet market is quite saturated this year, however, the iPad Air 2 really stands out above the rest. It is lighter, more powerful than before, and the screen is amazingly sharp and crisp, making it the clear winner for 2014. Many lawyers have an iPad, but they are probably 3 to 4 years old no, so the processor is much slower and the screen less sharp. Your lawyer will love the upgrade to better performance. While you’re at it, upgrade the storage capacity to at least 64 GB.
Over the years I’ve stayed away from suggesting professional books as holiday gifts for lawyers, but the MacSparky Field Guide e-books break the mold. Written by litigator/legal technologist David Sparks, these e-books use a variety of imbedded media to teach skills that lawyers can use in their professional and personal lives. I recommend lawyers start with the ebooks Email and Paperless, both of which I have read and learned a great deal. Available from the iBookstore, and a perfect addition to that new iPad Air 2!
Once again I am pleased to feature great stocking stuffers from on-line artist/craftsmen site, Etsy.com, including the “Gladiator in a Suit” shirt collar stays, the Lawyer’s Prayer plaque (which I have not seen anywhere before), and a wonderful lawyer heart charm.
Etsy also features a number of hand-made leather laptop and briefcases that are sure to please lawyers of both genders, ranging in price from $195 to $600 or more.
Une Bobine is a USB Charge+Sync+Stand accessory that I have found to be incredible handy for my phone. The coiled “goose-neck” cable is flexible yet rigid enough to hold a mobile phone (even my iPhone 6+) in a handy eye-level position when plugged into your computer monitor USB port. This Kickstarter-funded product has a weird name, but at $35 is a winner. (Yes, they sent me a free one, but I had no idea it would be so helpful as to end up in my HGG!)
The Bartendro 7 from PartyRobotics may not look like much under the hood, but this “bartender in a box” can automatically mix and pour hundreds of cocktails for your holiday party. Add up to 7 bottles of liquor, mixers, or other liquid flavorings, then use the smartphone app to have Bartendro precisely dispense custom cocktails each and every time. Also available in a 15-bottle version. Perfect for a law firm party or for that lawyer in your life who really loves a good time!
Fascination for Powered Personal Transportation Systems continues to grow, thanks, in part, to Segway and now the Hovertrax. Developed by Inventist, the same folks that brought us the SoloWheel (featured in last year's guide), the Hovertrax is a more compact form of powered personal transportation. Forget parking at the crowded courthouse when you have the Hovertrax in your briefcase! $995 from Inventist.
We’ve come to expect judicial ratings and ethics opinions from the American Bar Association (ABA) so why not wine too. Yep, w-i-n-e. The ABA recently launched the ABA Wine Club so lawyers can enjoy the vinosity of a wide selection of types and vintages. The club features three levels, regular deliveries, and special pricing for ABA members and non-members. Curated wine shipments by the Terlato Wine Group, representing the largest portfolio of 90+ rated wines.
There are hundreds of portable Bluetooth speakers on the market today, but I drooled when I saw and heard the new Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay A2. It isn’t the smallest portable speaker, but with B&O engineering and design, any music-loving lawyer will want to take this everywhere!
The New Yorker Book of Lawyer Cartoons is a classic collection of cartoons from the magazine that poke fun at judges, lawyers, and the legal profession. A must for every lawyer’s desk or office!
It took only one smoky, juicy, tender beef brisket from my new electric Masterbuilt Smoker to know that it was a sure thing for this year’s gift guide. About the size of a dorm refrigerator, it is the tastiest and easiest way to smoke fish, meat, and just about anything else (including killer macaroni & cheese) that will bring out the carnivore in your favorite lawyer! Set the digital time and temp, add wood chips, and then monitor your meat via remote temperature gauge. The best deal I’ve found for these is on Amazon, especially if you have Amazon Prime.
The biggest problem with padlocks is that you either lose the key or forget the combination, rendering them useless. Enter the Noke Bluetooth padlock that opens with an app on your smartphone. This Kickstarter-funded first-of-its-kind product from FuzDesigns ships in April 2015. (Not a long time to wait for a really helpful product!)
Cuff links are bound to be more popular when they double as a wi-fi hot spot and a also store up to 2 GB of data. Download the accompanying software to your laptop, then use the USB cufflink to create an instant hotspot for multiple wireless devices. Available at Red Envelope or Amazon.
Stump Your Lawyer: A Quiz to Challenge the Legal Mind is a described as “a hilarious tour of the quirks and curiosities of the our legal system”—and what lawyer can resist showing off how much they know about it! Sounds like the perfect guift to me! Available at TheBillableHour.com (along with other great gifts) or in paperback and Kindle versions on Amazon.
For more ideas, visit the past nine editions of this gift guide, as many of the ideas are timeless and still available across the internet.
Here's hoping you and your favorite lawyer have a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a safe and prosperous New Year!