One of my friends has a baby lawyer who has just been a nightmare for the past year-and-a-half. Maybe she realizes it and this explains her actions today, but I don’t think that a big gift can make up for bad behavior. Anyway, my friend got an Amazon gift certificate from this attorney today. She went online to check the amount and found that it is $250!!! Okay, baby lawyers, despite the “bonus table” making the rounds at a large New York firm, the reality is that $250 is going a bit overboard (not that we won’t accept it…)
Typically associate gifts are in the $50 – $100 range and can include massage certificates, restaurant gift cards, or cold, hard cash. Partners give more, sometimes much, much more if they are corner office guys and have long-term secretaries. Obviously this advice doesn’t apply to smaller firms.
The thing to remember, overall, is that your secretary just wants some acknowlegement of her effort. As I’ve mentioned before, if she doesn’t help and is just plain rude, talk to her about it to see if there is some misunderstanding. But if she works hard and is kind to you, be kind back. She doesn’t expect anything, but it’s a great surprise when she gets a gift from you. You don’t have to give her a ton of money, especially if you honestly believe you are broke, as some on ATL stated (she would probably disagree, but whatever). How about a book or CD you think she’d enjoy. A certificate to get her nails done at a salon near your workplace. Or just a kind thank you accompanied by a latte. A happy legal secretary is a productive legal secretary. Just be nice and don’t go overboard!