Whether you’re married to a lawyer, friends with a lawyer, or simply stay just close enough to a lawyer to get free legal advice, most people have a lawyer on their Christmas list. And we are not easy people to buy for. We are trained to be particular—particular about evidence, particular about words, particular about time—which means that we are often pretty particular about presents.
I have seen a few of these lists at other places on the internet, but I think mine is better. Most lawyers already have enough trinkets and paperweights with Lady Justice or Oliver Wendell Holmes on them. If you actually want to get your lawyer something he or she can use, here are my suggestions:
1. Subscription to Adobe Acrobat
Dollar for dollar, this is the most valuable thing I own in my professional life. (In my personal life, for those interested, it would have to be my styptic pencil, which costs 78 cents, lasts for years, and will instantly seal up any cut from shaving. Moving on . . . )
The full version of Adobe Acrobat allows you to manipulate PDF’s endlessly. Want to stamp a document with your signature? Takes 5 seconds. Want to remove the crap that goes on the top of faxed pages? Easy. It’s just like deleting normal text. Want to build hyperlinks into a brief? Boom.
For those who handle appeals, this gift would be particularly helpful because the Arkansas Supreme Court is now requiring functionality that you cannot get through Adobe Reader, which is the free version.
I use this everyday and could not live without it. It’s 15 bucks a month. Go to Adobe.com and find “Adobe Acrobat DC.”
2. Audiobook – “To Kill a Mockingbird”
I listen to a lot of podcasts and audiobooks, but Sissy Spacek’s version of “To Kill a Mockingbird” is one of my favorites. Her voice and inflection are perfect for the subject matter. When I read, I have my voice in my head, which means everything just sounds like a redneck reading out loud. Atticus Finch is much less believeable when he sounds like Bubba. Spacek’s performance captures all the good things and bad things that come along with the Old South
You can download the “Audible” app for free, and your first book is also free. Any subsequent books are usually around 10 bucks if you buy credits.
3. Levenger Legal Pads
My office has largely gone paperless, but there are times when you just have to take notes. These legal pads are made of high-quality paper with a backing so stiff that you could also use it as a weapon or sled or shim in a pinch. These pads are also built for the Cornell note-taking system, which, although I don’t use it methodically, is nice. The pages are thick enough to be written on both sides.
They’re also fountain-pen friendly, which is pretty rare in legal pads.
They’re here on Amazon.
4. Subscription to the Green Bag
Most legal writing is awful, and all lawyers get tired of reading the same old drivel. That’s where the Green Bag Almanac comes in. It is a collection of the best legal writing from each year. It is compiled by a who’s who of legal writing. If you love a lawyer, give him or her a much-need break from terrible legal writing.
You can subscribe here.