Maybe, in the last month, you’ve asked the special law student in your life what they would like for the holidays. Since it’s finals, their response may have ranged from an unintelligible grunt to “PEACE AND QUIET!!!”
The stress of the (finals) season should not put anyone on the naughty list. And since there’s still a few shopping days until all the big ones – Hanukkah starts on December 24 this year! – Before the Bar thought we’d ask some of our students what they’d like in their stockings this year.
This was the overwhelming winner in our informal Facebook poll of Student Bar Association presidents and ABA student reps. Coffee is the fuel of law school. It keeps the mental motor running when time is running short. It keeps the eyes open during the driest of lessons on important, if not compelling, subjects.
Starbucks will always work, in terms of ubiquity. We’re going to guess other places of business, be it Dunkin Donuts or the local campus brew, will do the trick. And if a student’s preference is to make their own, there’s always the personal touch of a bag of beans of their preference. And you can keep the coffee flowing with a subscription to a coffee CSA that brings the java from family farmers straight to their mailbox.
That other form of beverage was also well-represented, either as a generic catch-all or as wine or whiskey. There are also plenty of beer-of-the-month, wine-of-the-month, and spirit-of-the-month clubs out there. Even Pennsylvania, home of the State Store and where progress is measured in six packs, is finally relaxing its rules on shipping wine. Just remember to drink – and give – responsibly.
Things in which to put your coffee and alcohol
Well, you can’t have your drink and drink it too without something classy for pouring. At sites such as CafePress, You can find coffee mugs, beer steins, shot glasses and more with phrases such as:
- What would Scalia do?
- There’s no crying in law school.
- Law student, donations accepted
- Lawyers have feelings too. Allegedly.
There’s even one that’s similar to our proposed t-shirt design, which turned into a laptop sticker:
The best of the wine glasses is this one from Etsy, which lets you pick your volume of wine based on what kind of day you’ve had.
Law students do not live on coffee alone. Gift cards to their favorite restaurants, fast food joints, and grocery stores will keep them happily fed as they pursue their degree.
Highlighters, Post-Its, note cards, and writing utensils will never go out of style. You’ll even score Secret Santa bonus points for making them a color-coded rainbow to help keep things organized, topically.
Law student Ciara Perritano suggested combining several of our previous suggestions into one. “You could make a cute little basket,” she wrote. “Gift card to your nearest hipster coffee shop and some cute highlighters or pens and put it all in a fun coffee cup and wrap in cellophane!”
Dry erase boards, markers, and erasers and maybe an easel will also work, but unfortunately will not fit in a fun coffee cup.
Let’s clarify this a bit from the original suggestion – “gift certificate for a massage” is probably the way to go here. A massage is a great way to help law students de-stress, loosen up, and prepare for the next round of stress to come. “It’s phenomenal and highly needed,” wrote student Bibiana Potestad.
And the relaxation can go past the simple spa day, mani-pedi, or other pampering. There’s also certificates for yoga classes, meditation sessions, art classes, or other creative pursuits to keep the other side of your brain happy while you cram a semester’s worth of information into the other half.
There’s also weightlifting sessions, but if your student has taken their Constitutional Law book out recently, they’re probably good.
Is there anything more useful in crowded places, or quiet places such as libraries, than noise-cancelling headphones? Shutting out those extraneous noises can really help you focus as you listen to your notes, study materials, or work with an online bar prep course. It also helps for those times when those around you don’t have them, and all you can hear is the faint echo of the song they’re listening to or the muffled sound of someone talking on the phone or someone covering “Last Christmas” by Wham for the 84th time. It’s maddening!
What we’re saying is, good headphones will never go out of style – unlike that one song that’s been overplayed but still earworms you and never leaves.
Some other suggestions
- Dry cleaning gift cards: You never want to be unprepared when a good opportunity comes around. Help them keep that best suit handy for when they really need it for networking events, OCI, or for being ready for those unexpected opportunities.
- Clothes: For the previous suggestion to be effective, they’ll need a wardrobe upgrade. Or you could go for something fun such as scales of justice socks or novelty lawyer pajamas.
- Suitcase: Many students are not attending law school where they will work. Others will be doing externships, internships, or maybe study abroad. A solid hard-shell carry-on is a great start.
- The Briefcase: A standard-issue part of the lawyer uniform. It can either be the old-faithful leather kind or a professional over-the-shoulder bag with plenty of room for files, maybe a computer or tablet, and color-coded highlighters.
- Planners and calendars: The holidays are at the end of the year yet again, which makes these perfect for 2017! They also make you look smart and organized.
- Study guides: They’ll always be useful, though you might not know which ones to get. So think gift cards for Amazon or other booksellers.
- Gift cards: These will never go out of style. They can be used for academic purchases or for fun.
- Cash: It’s sometimes the best gift of all, even if it’s a little weird to ask for.
Things Santa’s elves don’t make
Debt relief: This is like the “asking for world peace” list item for law students. But we’re working on ways to address student debt, including advocating for Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention one more thing we offer. Two students suggested bar prep courses or dues to a legal organization. If your student hasn’t signed up for our Premium benefits in the Law Student Division, it only costs $25. Premium includes:
- A discounts on top bar prep programs from Kaplan, Themis, and Quimbee
- $25 off $50 or the brand new deal, $50 off $100, on West Academic Casebooks & Study Guides (which can be used more than once)
- Our Professional Responsibility Bundle (ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct eBook and discounts)
- And more discounts on legal tools they’ll use.
And like your highlighters, we hope the holidays for all of our law students are merry and bright.