Gifts for your Legal Secretary

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!!! :shock: 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! :smile:

5 thoughts on “Gifts for your Legal Secretary

  1. Wow, I’m all for going overboard!!! :grin: If the associate is making big firm money, I’d say $250 would be very generous but not unreasonable. I usually got $100 from my associate, which I thought was extremely generous considering I know how much the associates at our firm actually make. When I have a secretary, I will probably do the same.

  2. I have two secretaries, and they are shared by *several* associates. We all gave $50 to each toward pooled gifts.

    I believe that I will increase my total giving amount by at least $25 per year in the next few years.

    I read ATL, and was stunned by some of the associates’ responses. Greedy, selfish little people.

  3. Yes, I read the ATL thread too – I’ve never read that site before. It really made me think about how people can get so set on justifying their own self-centered lifestyles, and how everything starts to seem essential. I have no opinion on the secretary-gift question, since I don’t work at a law firm, but to me the selfishness and self-righteousness of those posters seems representative of a lack of concern for anyone outside your immediate circle of family/friends. There was one guy in particular that really got to me – he said he and his wife both worked for biglaw but with two kids, and living in NY, they had no spare money, and should he really spend more money on his secretary than on gifts for his family? Um – yes. Your secretary lives in NY too. She might have kids. She might have loans. Ugh, it just made me mad.

  4. I’m an associate and I read ATL but I’m EXTREMELY disgusted by it. Please keep in mind that there are A LOT of trolls on that site and many “sticks”. Most associates are good people and that site does not represent us. I’m a first-year with $153,000+ in student loans and am not making the big firm bucks. But I still plan to give generously to the secretary who I’ve had for one month. Please don’t judge us all by the few that are on ATL. That’s my only message here.

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