This is the 11th year of my Holiday Gift Guide for Lawyers, and while all ten prior editions featured copious technology gift ideas, this edition features even more. It’s just a reflection of our times, as we are more and more a tech-powered society. Technology tools can save us time, make tasks easier, remove hassles out of a hectic day, and provide a portal to observe and participate wherever we may be in an ever-shrinking world. That’s why tech tools make great gifts for lawyers. And remember, lawyers really don’t like gifts gratuitously plastered with the scales of justice. That’s why I started this guide 11 years ago. Think beyond the scales, and the lawyer in your life will be very happy!
Card by Brookhollow Cards
Tech the halls of your home with the coolest gift of the season--the Amazon Echo. It is a small Internet-connected device (about the
size of a can of Pringles) for your home that listens for your voice commands to perform tasks such as play music, tell you the latest weather forecast, or add an item to your grocery list. It uses the Alexa cloud-based voice service to listen and carry out your commands. More people may be familiar with Apple’s Siri, but Alexa may be far superior. It also connects with numerous home automation systems to help control lighting, security, and other emerging functions. Amazon promises more functions soon. Beam me up, Alexa!
Few lawyers have time to watch TV shows when scheduled, so time-shifting tools like the Tivo Bolt help lawyers keep up with their favorite shows even when they have to work. It’s a large-capacity DVR with a new killer feature: It allows you to skip through the commercials, plus you can access all your recorded shows via your mobile devices. Access Netflix, Amazon Prime, Vudu, and other services via the Bolt. From $299 depending on recording capacity.
Ok, so not all lawyers are neatniks, but the ones that are will love Cliq hangers: Sleek, stylish, and practical, these make a great home for any suit, blouse or pants after a long day at the office.
Be the first Noelle in your firm to have JIVR Bike. This uber-engineered aluminum dual-powered portable bike is the perfect urban commuting vehicle. All of the mechanical components are housed inside the frame so riders don't get dirty. Use petal-power when you want exercise, choose electric-power when you don’t. It folds easily to store at the office or whatever the destination. These started shipping recently, so there may be a backlog of orders.
So the Apple Watch hasn’t exactly taken the world by storm, but it does have great application for lawyers. Many lawyers are prohibited from using smartphones in courtrooms, but a quick glance of the wrist to review an important text message goes unnoticed because it looks like you are merely checking the time. The same works if you are in a client meeting or deposition and get a message from a spouse or child. Other useful functions, include Apple Pay, the ability to make short voice reminders using third-party apps like Just Press Record, and the fitness benefits mentioned below, makes this item great for lawyers.
I received a FitBit Flex for a gift earlier this year, and it changed the way I exercised, slept, and ate. I highly recommend every busy lawyer have a fitness band to help them meet fitness goals, even if they are not fitness fiends. I don’t think you can go wrong with a Fitbit ChargeHR or Surge, Apple Watch or the newly reengineered Microsoft Band.
I know, I know, no one gives a trash can to a lawyer. (Well, maybe to an ex-spouse’s #!*#& divore lawyer, but certainly not to one they like!) But I guarantee that will change with the Bruno Smart Trash Can: It makes life a little bit easier for that busy lawyer. It features a hands-free motion-detecting lid and a vacuum slot at the base to suck up the dirt, pet hair, and crumbs you sweep to the opening. It also comes with a mobile app to that notifies you with the built-in trash bag dispenser is low. Better yet, the app will notify you or other family members that the trash needs to be taken out. How great it that?! Shipping in February, but gift cards available for the 2015 holidays. One person’s trash can may be another person’s treasure!
From sensible to sublime, this next gift idea comes from Canadian lawyer, Dan Pinnington: The Pyro Mini Fireshooter. Sure, some lawyers might seem to shoot fireballs at times, but this wristband device really allows you to shoot fireballs from your hands. As explained on their website, “Pyro's secret is that the barrels are filled with 'flash' paper. A specially-treated tissue paper that burns extremely quickly and is gone in the blink of an eye.” Under $150.
As the smartphone has evolved into an indispensible tool for most lawyers, it seems we need it attached to our hand almost 24/7. Enter the “universal ring holder” a new generation of accessory to keep a safe grip on our smartphones wherever we go. These inexpensive rings attach with adhesive to the back of a phone for a more secure grip throughout a busy day. Many also double as a stand when placed on a desk or counter. Lots of choices from functional to fancy at stocking stuffer prices.
Have a silent night, plane flight, or peaceful afternoon snooze with the Hush Earplugs. Billed as the “world’s first smart earplugs” these rechargeable Bluetooth earplugs both block and mask outside noise, play soothing sounds to help you sleep, and will wake you to the sound of the alarm you set via the smartphone app. Whether you need a good night’s sleep the night before trial, or want to nap on a plane flight back from a deposition, these ear plugs may just be the ticket.
Show me a lawyer who loves beer and I’ll show you the perfect gift: A UKEG from Growlerwerks! Thanks to its new and innovative design, it keeps your favorite craft beer cold and fresh whether at home or on the go. UKEG growlers are available in a variety of sizes and finishes, with shipping dates in early 2016.
If you know a lawyer who is a baseball fan, then look no farther than the Justice Baseball from Unforgettaballs. This handmade colorful collectible comes in a Lucite cube to be proudly displayed on a desk or shelf.
Kudos to two enterprising lawyers who established Black Acre Studios to create legal-themed artwork for lawyers everywhere. Offerings include framed art shipped to you or downloadable art to be printed and framed as creatively as you want to make it!
Every year I feature one of the greatest comfort foods—bacon—as a great gift idea. Lawyers love bacon. From bacon jam to bacon vodka, you can never go wrong with All Things Bacon. This year’s bacon gift idea actually makes bacon better. How is that possible, you ask? With Cajun Bacon Spice Rub. Add a sprinkle of this to bacon before cooking to kick it up another notch!
Much has been written recently about the health benefits of standing versus sitting at a desk, but many lawyers are unsure whether they want to commit to standing all day, and others are stuck with the sitting desk supplied by their firm. The solution just might be the Varidesk Pro 39 adjustable height desk topper. This affordable device sits on top of an existing desk and adjusts to differing heights from sitting to standing. Thankfully for lawyers, it comes pre-assembled ready to use right out of the box.
No need to tell you that lawyers tend to be perfectionists. Or worse. For such a jurist who also enjoys cooking may I suggest the Obsessive Chef cutting board complete with measurements and angles for precision cutting of vegetables, and more? Made of sustainable bamboo with burnished, not printed lines and angles, this is the perfect kitchen gift for the perfectionist lawyer in your life.
Last year I featured the Noke Bluetooth Padlock that opens via smart device app—no combination or key needed. However, the Noke--a Kickstarter project--has yet to ship to buyers! So the Quicklock padlock beat them to market. It opens via Bluetooth from your smartphone, but also via a NFC fob/ring that comes with the padlock. Shipping now to excellent reviews! Available from QuickLock or Amazon.
Although this is a Very Techie Christmas, there is nothing wrong with going Old School especially when it comes to board games by Stonemaier Games. (Yes, board games!) This start-up company has several hit games perfect for lawyers, including Vinticulture, a game of building a vineyard empire in Tuscany. So how hot is this start-up game company? They recently created a Kickerstarter campaign for their latest board game seeking $33,000. They ended up with $1.8 million in funding. Yeah, that made Gerry Stegmaier—a privacy lawyer in DC and father of one of the founders—very proud! See their full line of games at Stonemaier Games or Amazon.
Not sure if High Tech or Old School is right for your lawyer? The bridge that gap with the iPad Foosball Table. The table has handles for all the traditional fun, but the action all happens digitally on your iPad screen nestled into the table.
The amazing quality of mobile phone cameras allows everyone to take great photos today, but the one thing missing is getting good close-ups. Mobile phones don’t have telephoto lenses to get even better photos. Enter the Olloclip. Thanks to my sons who gave me one last Christmas, my iPhone 6+ can take a wider range of great photos, from close-up to longer distances.
Inspiration can be found in Justice Joseph Story’s Advice to a Young Lawyer, memorialized on black marble and suitable for a desk or wall for lawyers young and old. Available from the Supreme Court Historical Society with a metal stand.
OK, so it’s not for everyone, but this fun desktop statue of a bowing knight surrendering
his sword (pen) is a terrific gift for the right lawyer with a great sense of humor!
The Meditation Box may not be for everyone either, but it can help stressed lawyers have a few moments of calm to re-energize them during a busy day. And sometimes that’s the best gift of all.
For more timeless ideas, see the ten previous editions of the Holiday Gift Guide for Lawyers!
Have yourself a very techie Christmas, and may your 2016 be merry and bright!