Law students are a busy, stressed out bunch. It seems they have no time to breathe, let alone shop for and buy stuff that can make law school a more pleasant experience. Here are 10 gift ideas for the law student in your life:
1. A really good backpack or bookbag
Casebooks are heavy. Right now, my Constitutional Law casebook is being used to flatten the brim of my wife’s hat after it was haphazardly stuffed into a duffle bag during a recent trip (my fault). Even if your law student loves all things digital, it’s often difficult to function in a law school classroom without having the reading available, on paper, during class. This burly and water repellent bag from The North Face is sure to save the shoulders and stand up to the abuse of heavy casebooks and rainy walking commutes. And if you haul your life with you to class, as I tended to do, there’s even a larger version.
2. A reading stand for books
A book stand was the one thing I never knew I needed. In fact, during my 1L year, I (silently in my mind) made fun of people who brought these to class. After getting frustrated with trying to take notes while reading for class, I finally bought one and I’ve never looked back. The law student in your life might raise an eyebrow, but I promise after using it, they’ll thank you. I’m still not sure I recommend bringing it to class.
3. The Simple Path to Wealth by J.L. Collins
Books always make great gifts. During the semester, I found myself deeply missing my pleasure reading time. I read slowly, so I had to pretty much give up all reading that wasn’t for school, but as soon as the semester was done, I dove in head first to the backlog of reading. This is a great book for those interested in learning about investing (and if you’re reading this blog, you probably are). It’s on my list to read while I wait out my bar exam results.
4. A Headspace subscription
Law school can be exceptionally stressful: cold calls, tons of reading, constant competition, and the knowledge that your grade depends entirely on one exam at the end of the semester. It’s very easy for a law student to forget to take time to get centered and relax a little. Meditation can be a great way to clear out all the law school stressors. I found my meditation by playing the piano each day for a few minutes (no, I’m not very good at it, but it forces me to block everything else out), but meditation apps like Headspace can also be an outstanding resource as they take you through guided meditation sessions.
5. A quality water bottle
It’s tough to take care of your health while you’re busy with everything Law School throws at you, but at least attempting to drink enough water is easy and takes very little time. The only way I drink even close to enough water is by always having it handy. A good quality water bottle is a great gift and will get tons of use.
6. Noise canceling headphones
Reading cases for law school requires a level of concentration and focus that I hadn’t experienced anywhere else in my life. And the distractions are EVERYWHERE. Even in the library, there will be whispered conversations, squeaky book carts, or slamming doors. A good set of noise canceling headphones are essential if you don’t have a study space without noisy distractions. For over-the-ear styling and awesome noise canceling, nothing really beats Bose QuietComfort, but for portability and top-of-the-line noise canceling, Apple AirPods Pro are the clear choice, especially for iPhone users.
7. A suit (or a gift card to get one)
One of my earliest observations in my first law school semester was how often I ended up wearing business professional attire. There are tons of networking opportunities and interviews are just around the corner, so having at least one set of professional attire is a great idea.
8. A food delivery service subscription
Eating healthy can be challenging when you’re super busy and stressed all the time. Thankfully, there’s a growing market of service providers that will deliver healthy, fresh, and easy meals straight to your doorstep. Some services even provide meals that are fully cooked and ready for a few minutes in the microwave. We’ve had a great experience with Freshly. Meals are delivered weekly and are fully prepared and ready to eat in about five minutes. After over two months, I haven’t had a meal I didn’t like.
9. A great planner
I get it. It’s 2021, so who even uses a paper planner any more. Maybe I’m a little old school, but I like the act and feel of writing down my assignments, appointments, and important due dates. Don’t get me wrong, I utilize my Google Calendar and other productivity tools, but I’ve just found there’s no better way to keep track of each week’s reading than to have a planner with a list of items waiting to be checked off. This can be especially helpful for those law achool classes that don’t have set reading assignments for every class meeting of the semester (in my 1L Torts class, we got the next week’s assignment on Fridays). This one from MSTRPLN has all kinds of great features for students, including financial tracking and budgeting tools.
10. A lunchbox
Buying lunch every day can rack up the charges very quickly. Before you know it, a daily Panera or Chipotle habit has you spending upwards of $200/month, not to mention the time cost of going to the restaurant, getting food, etc. A small investment of time and energy can save a great deal of money and allow increased productivity by reducing time spent waiting in lines and ordering food. I like this lunchbox. It has gel wall panels that freeze, eliminating the need for ice packs and saving space for all those casebooks.
Joshua Carrigan is a 3L at George Washington University Law School. Joshua spent eight years as a Nuclear Submarine Officer for the US Navy and is also a licensed skydiver. Four years ago Joshua and his wife embarked on a journey to become debt free, paying off $170,000 in student and car loans along the way.