Five Great Graduation Gifts For Broke Law Students
- Student Tips
While law careers may promise sizable salaries, most law school grads have yet to cash in on those high paychecks. Not only that, but many are also burdened with significant debt. So while picture frames have their place, why not consider helping get your favorite freshly diploma’d future lawyer off to a great start with a gift he/she could really use? Of course, cold hard cash is one way to go. But if you’re looking for something a bit more personal, try one of these five practical graduation gifts for law students.
1. Bar Preparation Materials
While bar review outlines may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a personal present, the reality is that bar preparation materials may be just what a law grad needs to successfully navigate the next phase of their professional lives without spending more cash.
The best part? You don’t have to be a big spender to give this gift. If you can’t spring for prep course fees, tutoring or books, many quality bar outlines can be found for free online. Just Google, print, package, and give!
Recommended reading: What is the bar exam?
2. Business Attire
Law grads still living on a ramen diet don’t exactly have the funds to run out and by a whole new professional wardrobe.
Contends attorney and self-proclaimed “student debt slayer” Jordan Rothman, who founded the website Student Debt Diaries, “While I was working my first job out of law school, I was still wearing the same suits and shoes I had in high school, and I was still rocking the same tie I wore at my bar mitzvah! I didn’t have enough money to update my wardrobe until months after I started practicing law, and until then, I had to get by with what I had...I wish someone would have bought me a suit or two after graduating from law school so that I had decent clothes right at the beginning of my career.”
Even better? Buying professional attire isn’t just a wardrobe booster, it also offers a serious confidence lift -- and you can’t put a price on that.
3. Office Equipment
A fancy pen set or personalized equipment may sound like an extravagance, but it can also be an important step toward helping future lawyers feel less like imposters and more like the real deal. Insists FindLaw, “A nice fountain pen looks professional on a lawyer's desk -- and in a lawyer's hand. When it comes time to sign a contract, brandishing a fountain pen means you're 100 percent class. Don't worry; modern fountain pens have ink cartridges, so you don't have to dip them in ink like you're signing the Declaration of Independence.”
Other possible accoutrements for a lawyer’s new office? Everything from a new leather messenger bag to a billable hour clock.
Plus, insists Above the Law, “ A bare law firm office is one of the saddest scenes in the world.”
4. Funds for a Bar Trip
If you’re not a lawyer, you may not be familiar with the concept of a “bar trip.” Basically, these getaways are taken between when students take the bar in July and start working in the fall. While this practice waned during the Great Recession, they’re on the rise again, according to The Biglaw Investor.
However, not many financial experts would advise a broke law grad to take the holiday of their dreams before paying down their debt. That’s where you come in! By giving a law grad a trip -- or funds toward a trip -- you help them enjoy the tradition without adding to their financial pain.
5. A Gift Card
While on the surface a gift card may not seem much more personal than cash, the reality is that a well-thought gift card can be indicative of just how well you know someone. For a law student-fueled on coffee, for example, a gift card to his/her favorite java shop makes a perfect gift. Know someone who loves to relax and recharge with yoga, meanwhile? A gift card to a local yoga studio is guaranteed to please. From neighborhood restaurants to bookstores, there are near-endless ways to fete law graduates with gift cards.
If you asked a law grad to list the things they want most of all, relief from debt is likely to come up. While you may not be able to wipe away their loans, you can help lighten the load with one of these five thoughtful and useful gifts for law students.
Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.