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  1. #16
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    How exciting for your niece! And how lucky she is to have a generous and thoughtful aunt like you! As you seem to hint that you are not yet 100% decided on the nature of your gift, I thought perhaps my experiences could be helpful.

    Of the lovely gifts that I received when I finished law school (in my 30's as a mature age student), a couple remain useful, even after I've moved on. One was a beautiful, small, brass Tiffany clock, which perched smartly on my desk. Another was a leather portfolio for a pad of paper; and even though it fits both 8.5 x 11 inch and A4 pads but not US legal-sized pads, I've toted it to gazillions of meetings.

    Where and what type of law she'll practice will have significant bearing on what accoutrements she'll want or need, and some of these will become clear once she has been doing it for a bit. While new lawyers tend to do a lot of drafting, in my experience most of it was done at a keyboard or by hand on a yellow legal pad. It does strike me that your lovely fountain pen idea could be something of a gamble if she's not already a devotee: as she'll be in a swirl (maybe even vortex) of change and intense pressure and a near-vertical learning curve, would she embrace one more new thing?

    She may need a new briefcase or other EDC for work, and what sort could vary widely. In my first year of practice I invested in a gorgeous, capacious black leather Coach computer briefcase, but after a year or two it had to play second fiddle to a black nylon rolling briefcase in order to save my back. A TB briefcase might or might not fit the culture where she's going to practice.

    Might your niece have to travel in her new job? If I were still practicing I could see myself using a black Tri-Star or Western Flyer--or Aeronaut, as she'd likely need a separate briefcase for working on the plane and taking to meetings/work sessions. (In my third week of lawyer work I was sent solo with one day's notice on a due diligence trip with the CEO and other top executives on a client's company plane; when my supervising partner said not to let the client know that I was so freshly minted, I raced out in a panic to buy an overnight bag and ended up, as the department store was closing, with an overpriced rolling garment bag ... only to provoke a comment from one of the executives about my firm's rates being too high if I could buy that bag. Ouch! If only TB had been in my life back then.)

  2. #17
    Forum Member adalangdon's Avatar
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    I think the TN is a great choice. To be really honest, your niece may not have time to pursue her hobbies if she's working at a law firm, so something beautiful and smart-looking but not too flowery might be nice. Because if she doesn't end up journalling in it, she could always use it at work! The ability of the TN to hold different types of inserts may be good for that. You could always get her a selection of inserts as a starter kit of sorts so that she can figure out what works for her.

    (Disclaimer: Not a TN owner; don't journal... but I did escape from school to become a full-time no-life lawyer this year.)
    Last edited by adalangdon; 04-18-2016 at 04:30 AM.

  3. #18
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    @Ca1i - This is very nice of you. Consider adding a good massage to your gift. She will probably need one as she studies for her bar exam. Smilie

  4. #19
    Forum Member Ca1i's Avatar
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    You guys have crystallized a struggle I was having. Give her something to retreat from the pressure of law/new job (journal) or something that is more appropriate *for* her job. I especially appreciate the advice from you newly(ish) minted attorneys. I like the idea of the Tiffany clock as I had one on my desk too. And she is more of a traditionalist than I am.

    I was already thinking about a Bihn backpack, but for later once we see what she ends up really doing.

    And then I could buy a pen for myself! Ha! (Heck, I could use a massage too...this thread is getting better and better.)

  5. #20
    Forum Member marytattoo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ca1i View Post
    You guys have crystallized a struggle I was having. Give her something to retreat from the pressure of law/new job (journal) or something that is more appropriate *for* her job. I especially appreciate the advice from you newly(ish) minted attorneys. I like the idea of the Tiffany clock as I had one on my desk too. And she is more of a traditionalist than I am.

    I was already thinking about a Bihn backpack, but for later once we see what she ends up really doing.

    And then I could buy a pen for myself! Ha! (Heck, I could use a massage too...this thread is getting better and better.)
    after all, you need to try things out to see if they'd be good for her - buy a pen!

  6. #21
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    As far as items *for* her job are concerned, I agree with others that it depends a lot on where she ends up and what she does. A leather briefcase is somewhat traditional but it may not be the best for her needs. Assuming it's not out of place with what her colleagues are using, a messenger bag, a backpack as you mention or some other EDC may be best.

    Lawyers aren't always the quickest to embrace new technology but on the other hand, laptops, Blackberries and smart phones are very common now. And - I believe, although it's still early days - tablets will be an indispensable tool for lawyers in the future, e.g. I was showing one of my bosses the other day how my iPad Pro (with pencil) can be used for marking-up, highlighting and reviewing documents (e.g. a document on one half of the screen; and a dictation program on the other half so I can zip around the document and dictate my comments). I don't think it's totally acceptable to turn up to an internal or external meeting with a laptop but the perception feels different with a tablet. A briefcase is not the best to carry one of those around on a daily basis and I use a Pilot or Ristretto for this reason.

    The only item which I can think of which should be generally useful for most lawyers is a business card holder to hold on one side a stack of business cards to give out and collecting on the other side business cards received. Some people (but not me) also have a business card book in the office to file away the cards which they collect.
    Last edited by John; 04-18-2016 at 11:41 AM.

  7. #22
    Forum Member Ca1i's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marytattoo View Post
    after all, you need to try things out to see if they'd be good for her - buy a pen!
    I see you are a non-denominational enablerRoll Eyes (Sarcastic)

  8. #23
    Forum Member Ca1i's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John View Post

    Lawyers aren't always the quickest to embrace new technology but on the other hand, laptops, Blackberries and smart phones are very common now. And - I believe, although it's still early days - tablets will be an indispensable tool for lawyers in the future.
    John, are leather folios still used? Would they be useful for the next year or so?

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ca1i View Post
    John, are leather folios still used? Would they be useful for the next year or so?
    A good quality leather folio is nice to have but I'd only get one if you think your niece would like it rather than thinking it's something which she'll need for her job.

    From my experience at least, I've never had one and I can't think of any of my colleagues (medium sized London law firm with about 500 lawyers in total here and in other overseas offices) who have one. We just grab the nearest pad of paper and a pen to take to meetings whether with clients or others. However, I'd be very happy if one of my aunts was generous enough to get me one and I'd most certainly find a use for it!

  10. #25
    Forum Member Ca1i's Avatar
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    Well, I'm about to go down that path worn well by Binners who have come before me: analysis paralysis.

    Tiffany is sold out of the clock. And the journals/pen idea is probably better suited idea for me!

    So, I think a nice card case, a gift certificate to a food delivery service (studying for bar exam) and then *maybe* something more specific (and hopefully Tom bihn related) once she starts her job (and she thought law school was life killing...ha!).

    Thanks to everyone for your ideas and support.

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by jess View Post
    I'm not a journal person myself but I LOVE Oberon Designs. All of their items are handmade in California and are simply gorgeous. They are another American company with outstanding customer service like TB. I have a pile of their Kindle/iPad/iPhone covers, couple of their journals, and an assortment of card cases, journals, and jewelry. I almost bought one of their bags but that was when I found TB and you can all guess what happened there Smilie

    Leather Journal Covers | iPad, Kindle and iPhone Cases | Jewelry
    Oberon makes great looking stuff. One caveat though, if you're planning to use a fountain pen with it, they said that their standard journal filler is not FP friendly. They recommend a Pro-Art sketchbook as an FP friendly alternative. See the FAQ on their site.

  12. #27
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    Another place to look, would be Levenger...They make lovely folios from various materials and you -could- even have a monogram put on some of them.....

  13. #28
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    A nice fountain pen would still be a nice gift and maybe a VISA gift card so she can choose a journal or bag to use it on.

  14. #29
    Forum Member Ca1i's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaMacGuy View Post
    A nice fountain pen would still be a nice gift and maybe a VISA gift card so she can choose a journal or bag to use it on.
    Yea...I'm still waffling. I know that, for me, taking out a slightly nicer pen made whatever I was doing a little less like "work" and she will be signing things...I think. So I'm still toying with a pen (in spite of my trying to cut off my mental wanderings) but not a fountain pen so I'm scouring the thread on everyday writing instruments. I was especially happy with an engraved cross pen I was given many moons ago, except that it tarnishes. So I like the idea of a card case and a pen...at least I'm getting close! (I've given only cash and gift certificates for all the time she's been in school, so I'm *trying* to make this more tangible. Plus she'll have a monetary surprise from the entire family to help with the relatively small amount of school debt she will have...but ssshhhh that's a secret.)
    Last edited by Ca1i; 04-18-2016 at 04:31 PM.

  15. #30
    Forum Member KatrinkaWinkle's Avatar
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    If you have your heart set on a fountain pen, go for it! But as a practicing attorney for 25 years, I would have preferred to receive a nice quality ballpoint. A gel pen is OK for some, but my hands get hot and they make the gel ink run, so I've always stuck with black ballpen.

    Upon graduation, I tried using a fountain pen and it was totally impractical. We bill in 6-minute increments. I don't have the time to sit there and wait for my signature to dry so I can make copies. I also don't want to worry about a pen leaking in my expensive briefcase.

    Also, when you're running around in the courthouse, signing multiple copies of documents while leaning on whatever is handy, fountain pen just smears. Also, clients will often ask to borrow your pen. I would never let someone else write with my fountain pen, but I'll loan a ballpoint.

    Two other things I would have used - a high quality portfolio (the kind that holds a letter-size yellow legal pad on one side and has slots on the other side for loose papers - skip the bulky ones with calculators, just a nice slim padholder that looks elegant), or a zip-type portfolio that I could use on days that I don't need my entire briefcase, but only 1" or so of a file (settlement conferences, for example).
    Last edited by KatrinkaWinkle; 04-18-2016 at 04:17 PM.
    EDC: SCB/MCB, Swift for knitting, small shop bags
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