Around this time of year, it's fairly common to see lists of holiday gift suggestions – for the sports fan in your life, the techie, the music buff, and so on. But what about your friendly neighborhood lawyer?
Whether it's the nice young lady who incorporated your business, the probate lawyer on the corner who drafted your will or even the personal injury attorney who got you a good settlement from that car wreck, why not remember your favorite lawyer this Christmas?
To make your shopping easier, I've got a few suggestions.
Coffee mugs are boring – but they don't have to be. For that lawyer who wants to combine an appreciation for hot beverages with a fondness for constitutional history, there's the Supreme Court decision mug ($12.95, available online from The Unemployed Philosophers Guild).
Emblazoned with the names of Brown v. Board of Education; Dred Scott v. Sanford, Miranda v. Arizona and other landmark decisions, the cup has a unique feature: pour a hot beverage in, and the losers' names disappear, leaving only the winners of these famous Supreme Court cases. Fun, and educational, too!
Of course, if your loved one is a lawyer and a serious Supreme Court buff, there are the limited edition bobbleheads and Supreme Court baseball cards available to subscribers of the legal periodical The Green Bag.
Yes, they've made bobbleheads of many of your favorite U.S. Supreme Court justices like Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Antonin Scalia. But they're not just immortalized in plastic with outsized heads. They also appear on commemorative trading cards like the heroes of baseball's golden age.
The first one in the series, issued in November 2009, depicted Chief Justice John G. Roberts in the image of famed Chicago Cubs pitcher Mordecai "Three Fingers" Brown. Just like real baseball cards, the backs feature stats – number of judicial opinions, dissents, and even citations of leading opinions.
Baseball cards might be a particularly appropriate way to memorialize these judges, after all, it was Chief Justice Roberts in 2005 who analogized the judge's role to umpires "calling balls and strikes."
For the true "law nerd," however, there's the "Punitive Damages Commemorative Plate Collection" (available from etsy.com for $125). This set of six plates depicts the cigarette manufacturing at the heart of big tobacco litigation like the case of Phillip Morris USA v. Williams, exploding Pinto in the case of Grimshaw v. Ford Motor Co., and more.
I don't know, though – seeing cars engulfed in flame as passengers die on the plate before you would probably take away most appetites.
Something a bit more practical-minded for your favorite lawyer might be the Billable Hours timepiece (available from the billablehour.com in a wide range of styles and ranging in price form $50 to $495).
This handy device keeps track of time in standard attorney billing sheet fractions, like .10 of a hour. Yes, what better way to remind the lawyer in your life that "time is money" than these clocks and watches? You're sure to get a nice "thank you" note – and maybe a bill.
For the lawyer – or any traveler – wanting to make a statement about the constitutionality of the latest airport full body scanners and invasive TSA patdowns, there's the new line of Fourth Amendment underwear (available from http://cargocollective.com/4thamendment).
The men's undershirts (priced at $45), boxer briefs, bras and panties for the ladies, socks, and even baby onesies all come with the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution and its guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures prominently emblazoned.
The text of Amendment IV is printed in metallic ink, ensuring that even when viewed through on of those scanners, no one will be able to miss your statement about constitutional protections. The company making these undergarments calls them "4th Amendment underclothes: for when unwarranted searches go too far." Just don't blame me if you're "randomly" selected for additional screening by the humorless folks at TSA.
For a plethora of other gift ideas for lawyers, check out the For Counsel catalog (www.forcounsel.com), which boasts a wide range of products for lawyers and other professionals. From lawyer-themed ties (where else are you going to find a tie with the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence in its original script?) and desk accessories to doormats, books, and artwork to actual "scales of justice," you're sure to find the right gift.
It doesn't matter if your lawyer's tastes run to the classy (bronze busts of Lincoln and other historical figures) or the whimsical (such as the shark cufflinks I found one year), this catalog probably has it.