All I want for Christmas...
One of the great things about working for yourself from home is that you don’t have to buy presents for any colleagues. This more than offsets the downside of not having a Christmas party to go to. However, in the true spirit of Christmas, I thought I would selflessly hunt down some ideal gifts for lawyers. I am not entirely sure how I would feel if I were given any of these, but then I am not a lawyer. I hope my suggestions are helpful.
My favourite is this ‘I am quite unusually brilliant’ t shirt. A snip at £19 and in a choice of red or black it is surely what every lawyer’s wardrobe is crying out for. They’ll probably only wear it openly at home, but will secretly put it under a work shirt to look at when they go to the loo.
Running it a close second is the Executive Billable HourTM Watch. Sadlly, as it’s from the US, it’s a bit late to order it in time for Christmas, but would make a great present for your lawyer’s birthday, particularly if you are querying your bill. Mind you, in that case you probably aren’t buying them a Christmas present so it’s possibly more something for you, as the customer of a lawyer, to keep tabs on how much time they are wasting at your expense.
If you’re reluctant to spend too much, you could always go for this ‘I am a lawyer’ mug, with the helpful reminder ‘to save time let’s just assume that I am never wrong’. Very handy for lawyers to give to clients, with or without tea in, while they bamboozle them with legalese,
In a similar vein is this Compromise poster from Despair Inc. It would look great behind any lawyer’s desk as it offers out the hand of understanding while making it quite clear who's the boss: Let’s agree to respect each others’ views, no matter how wrong yours might be.
One of my pet hates, as I’ve explained on this blog before, is the tendency of lawyers to use three words where one will do and long complicated ones where there are simpler alternatives. I’ve struggled to find the definitive antidote to this (I may have to write it myself) but in the meantime you could get The Party of the First Part: The Curious World of Legalese by Adam Freedman that exposes the ‘simple laws lurking behind decorative, unnecessary and confusing legal language’. That is if you can find a copy, for some reason it appears to be out of print….
Also dealing with lawyers’ inclination to take as little notice as possible of the consumer, you could try getting them to do some online customer service training with learndirect. Courses cover complaints, quality management, controlling your behaviour, demanding customers, effective communication and understanding customers. Most are only two hours long and cost £41.99. Money well spent I think you’ll agree. On the other hand, if you know your lawyer is beyond help, you could get them a mousetrap for complaining clients.
For those of you feeling more benevolent, either because you genuinely do love your lawyer or because you live with one, you could get them the wonderful ‘Legal Man’ by marvellous Scottish band Belle & Sebastian. Showing an extremely shrewd understanding of the profession, it compares contract law with romantic commitment and contains the utterly unforgettable lyrics:
Not withstanding provisions of clauses 1,2,3 and 4
Extend contractual period, me and you for evermore
You’re the Legal Man, you’ve got to prove that you’re no liar
I’ll render services that you may reasonably require
Alternatively, for a more substantial gift you could buy tickets to go and see Legally Blonde the musical. This tells the irresistible story of college sweetheart and homecoming queen Elle Woods, who won’t take no for an answer and when her boyfriend dumps her for someone serious, follows him to Harvard Law School. Based on the film of the same name, it’s my absolutely favourite film about lawyers ever. Or rather, it’s the only film about lawyers I actually like.
For those lawyers, of whom there are a few, who are struggling to make it into the digital age, you could get them the NotPad. Much cheaper than an iPad (or any other tablet) at under £10 it will help the stuck-in-the-19th-century lawyer at least look as if they know what’s going on. Not much good for tweeting but great for doodling while they pretend to listen to their client.
Last, but by no means least, is this work of genius, MyPetLawyer. Described as ‘the perfect customised gift’, this is your very own personal lawyer on remote control that says or sings whatever you want and has bendy arms and eyes that light up. It comes with its very own crushed victim and can sit or stand on a desk to startle clients at will. What more could you ask for?