Jump to content
jjbean

Gift for principal at the end of articling?

Recommended Posts

I will be called shortly and would like to get a gift for my principal. She and I have a good relationship, my firm is small, and I'm staying on. I thought I would check in to see if LS folks have good ideas of gifts (from the articling or principal experience) or thoughts on appropriate price ranges.

Thanks in advance. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bourbon - tastier, AND better value. You can get them a way cooler bottle of bourbon than you could scotch. Unless you are fine spending lots of money. Also, and maybe this common sense, I wouldn't buy them any booze unless you know they like drinking at least something in the same category (spirits vs. wine)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For clarity to others reading the forum, it is certainly not necessary to get your principal a gift. OP wants to get a gift because their relationship makes it appropriate in the circumstances and that's perfectly fine.

You don't need to break the bank, in fact it can be awkward if you do. The best gifts are those that show gratitude and that you paid attention to their interests and needs during your articling year. That might mean a mug and a high end bag of coffee beans from a country they recently traveled to, a Ted Baker fountain pen because their signature has John Hancock level notoriety around the office, or a collapsible leather glasses case from Hook & Albert because they are always losing their reading glasses. Whatever you choose, pair it with a thoughtful card. Your message will mean more to them than any fancy gift when they find it in a box 20 years from now. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll go against the grain and suggest that you should not get your principal a gift.

Reasons vary: they prob. have lots of money and you prob. don't, so don't spend money on them; as good as your relationship might be, it's still based on a professional obligation, and you might be reading too much into your relationship; they have an obligation to judge you objectively, both as a student and now likely as an associate, and generally giving gifts to ppl in those positions is generally awkward; it's not the traditional thing to do, and usually the firm gifts something to the student for successfully completing articles and staying on as an associate; etc.

If you really feel strongly about this, then give them a card and write a nice note.

Also, don't give ppl alcohol unless you know they drink.

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm with Conge, it's not necessary - a nice card is all your really need. 

Now, if you there's a special gift that'll mean something to both of you - one student of mine once gave me an autographed picture of Andrea Bargnani, celebrating our shared love of the raptors and  our mutual contempt for the tallest, limpest, piece of walking pasta ever to roam the earth - that's different. Maybe you worked on a deal together, maybe you did a trial together, maybe there's some sort of inside joke, and the gift is a reminder of that.  But beyond that....

 

  • Like 1
  • Haha 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I got my principal a signed framed Canadians picture for the office.  The principal had other Habs stuff and other pictures around the office.  It was like $150 or something like that.  I did it because of I was thankful for all the help and being a principal is tough.  It felt right and its still in the office.  He was pretty shocked so if I hadnt bought anything then things wouldnt have been any different.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not OP's situation, but somewhat recently thinking about the propriety of giving a gift to someone in a professional relationship with, and wasn't sure if they would think it appropriate to get them a gift, I asked if they drank Scotch, they asked why I was asking and I said I'd like to get them a small gift, they said please don't. Not recommending this approach, I was just getting at, sometimes people don't want gifts they think it's awkward or inappropriate or whatever. Is there someone else at the (small) office one can ask the opinion of, another lawyer, the principal's assistant, etc.?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The thing with getting gifts for principals is that you as the student have such a significantly smaller income than them and they may have expensive/specific tastes. My husband loves whisky, but the price of his bottles is crazy and it would be awkward if a student spent that on him. You could get him a cheaper kind and he'd be gracious and find a use for it, but it really wouldn't have much meaning that a student gave him some inexpensive bourbon. Wine can be very specific - people like certain kinds of wine and don't necessarily want a $15 bottle of whatever. They would hopefully be gracious and take it in the spirit that it's offered, but if your intention is to have an impact, that isn't really the way to go. I think that something intentionally cheap as a gag gift is fine - like if the boss is a Habs fan and you're a Leafs fan it might be funny to give them some cheap Leafs paraphernalia - a mug or something for $5 or $10. Or if you make things that could work  - a piece of art you drew for their office or something like that. A photo in an inexpensive frame, if you were close enough that that's appropriate. But I wouldn't spend more than $10-ish. I think a heartfelt handwritten note/card is always appreciated and treasured for years. I clerked for judges who still had and referred to cards they had received from previous clerks. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, providence said:

The thing with getting gifts for principals is that you as the student have such a significantly smaller income than them and they may have expensive/specific tastes. My husband loves whisky, but the price of his bottles is crazy and it would be awkward if a student spent that on him. You could get him a cheaper kind and he'd be gracious and find a use for it, but it really wouldn't have much meaning that a student gave him some inexpensive bourbon. Wine can be very specific - people like certain kinds of wine and don't necessarily want a $15 bottle of whatever. They would hopefully be gracious and take it in the spirit that it's offered, but if your intention is to have an impact, that isn't really the way to go. I think that something intentionally cheap as a gag gift is fine - like if the boss is a Habs fan and you're a Leafs fan it might be funny to give them some cheap Leafs paraphernalia - a mug or something for $5 or $10. Or if you make things that could work  - a piece of art you drew for their office or something like that. A photo in an inexpensive frame, if you were close enough that that's appropriate. But I wouldn't spend more than $10-ish. I think a heartfelt handwritten note/card is always appreciated and treasured for years. I clerked for judges who still had and referred to cards they had received from previous clerks. 

I agree with you generally, including about notes or cards (not e-cards!) but since you brought up wine and alcohol generally, I must nitpick somewhat.

It is possible, for someone who knows a lot about wine or another alcohol, to possibly find an inexpensive gift that will still appeal to the afficionado. I'm not saying you don't know a lot! :drinkers:

Like, albeit not recently, I've found a set of 5 miniatures of vintage Armagnac from the 1960s and 1970s (found in the 2000s) for under $10 at an Ottawa LCBO that an Armagnac or Cognac fan would appreciate (funnily enough I never gave any away...), unusual (but good) dessert wines for under $15 (available occasionally, as recently as this year) that even as someone who likes the occasional (very occasional!) bottle of Chateau d'Yquem I think is good and complex, Sherries for around $20 (again this year) that reputable publications like Wine Spectator ranked 96-98 and that I and others thought was the most unusual (and excellent) sherry we'd ever had, etc.

But, if one has over or underestimated the person's interest and knowledge this may seem weird, e.g. I'd be happy to get even a miniature of a vintage-dated Armagnac because unusual, but many people would be thinking WTF, they can't even give me a full-size bottle or even half-bottle of something? Or sherry?!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, epeeist said:

I agree with you generally, including about notes or cards (not e-cards!) but since you brought up wine and alcohol generally, I must nitpick somewhat.

It is possible, for someone who knows a lot about wine or another alcohol, to possibly find an inexpensive gift that will still appeal to the afficionado. I'm not saying you don't know a lot! :drinkers:

Like, albeit not recently, I've found a set of 5 miniatures of vintage Armagnac from the 1960s and 1970s (found in the 2000s) for under $10 at an Ottawa LCBO that an Armagnac or Cognac fan would appreciate (funnily enough I never gave any away...), unusual (but good) dessert wines for under $15 (available occasionally, as recently as this year) that even as someone who likes the occasional (very occasional!) bottle of Chateau d'Yquem I think is good and complex, Sherries for around $20 (again this year) that reputable publications like Wine Spectator ranked 96-98 and that I and others thought was the most unusual (and excellent) sherry we'd ever had, etc.

But, if one has over or underestimated the person's interest and knowledge this may seem weird, e.g. I'd be happy to get even a miniature of a vintage-dated Armagnac because unusual, but many people would be thinking WTF, they can't even give me a full-size bottle or even half-bottle of something? Or sherry?!

Back on the alcohol topic, I think it should generally be avoided, unless you know for sure the person enjoys alcohol - you don't know who is a alcoholic or who may have had family issues with alcoholism in the past. I know a lot of ppl will think this is ridiculous, but it's a real thing, even if for a vast minority of ppl; for certain ppl I know, getting a nice bottle of whiskey from someone they like/respect could actually be a disaster - you'd be crazy not to enjoy a little bit, right? Then you're down a path that it could take a long time to recover from.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, conge said:

Back on the alcohol topic, I think it should generally be avoided, unless you know for sure the person enjoys alcohol - you don't know who is a alcoholic or who may have had family issues with alcoholism in the past. I know a lot of ppl will think this is ridiculous, but it's a real thing, even if for a vast minority of ppl; for certain ppl I know, getting a nice bottle of whiskey from someone they like/respect could actually be a disaster - you'd be crazy not to enjoy a little bit, right? Then you're down a path that it could take a long time to recover from.

I do agree that one shouldn't be giving gifts of alcohol to a specific person without knowing first whether or not the person drinks alcohol (I'm sure I could think of exceptions, so let's say it's a general rule...). Or similarly other things, giving legal marijuana to someone wouldn't be a good idea either (and I assume, though I haven't checked, that there may be legal issues with giving pot as a gift?).

I note that a few years ago the LCBO ran an ad campaign suggesting giving teachers LCBO gift cards...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, epeeist said:

I do agree that one shouldn't be giving gifts of alcohol to a specific person without knowing first whether or not the person drinks alcohol (I'm sure I could think of exceptions, so let's say it's a general rule...). Or similarly other things, giving legal marijuana to someone wouldn't be a good idea either (and I assume, though I haven't checked, that there may be legal issues with giving pot as a gift?).

I note that a few years ago the LCBO ran an ad campaign suggesting giving teachers LCBO gift cards...

OMG I would hire back a student who gave me legal cannabis!

  • Like 2
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I dunno alcohol doesn't have to be super expensive to be enjoyable.  I've never said no to a a six pack of beer or a 20 dollar bottle of wine.

 

But I am a man of the people.

Edited by kurrika
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Maybe I'm the odd man out with my situation.  But when I finished articles, a while back, I was taken out to dinner by the entire office crew and they presented me with a gift.  And it was several hundred bucks worth of gift.  And it wasn't just me, this is what they did with all their articling students.   It never crossed my mind until seeing this thread for me to have bought a gift.  I just sent a nice email to everyone.  Anyone else experience it the other way around like I did?

Edited by Captain Courageous
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Captain Courageous said:

Maybe I'm the odd man out with my situation.  But when I finished articles, a while back, I was taken out to dinner by the entire office crew and they presented me with a gift.  And it was several hundred bucks worth of gift.  And it wasn't just me, this is what they did with all their articling students.   It never crossed my mind until seeing this thread for me to have bought a gift.  I just sent a nice email to everyone.  Anyone else experience it the other way around like I did?

This was exactly how it was for me. At my firm none of the students gave principles (or mentors - official or unofficial) gifts. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.



  • Recent Posts

    • I am more of an ambivert - I can be either introverted or extroverted, depending on the situation. For job interviews, I would generally be on the extroverted side of the spectrum. I also had the maximum number of interviews, and I was cautioned against it by people who thought it would be too much. This was some years ago, but from what I remember, it was unnecessary to do that many. It wasn't very exhausting for me, but I realize that the law school view of what is "hard" or "too much" or "tiring" is completely different from my experience. I had been through things in life much more intense and difficult than making small talk at a bunch of interviews and dinners, so it was fine. Some people found it hard to be "on" for so long, but that's where the extroverted tendencies help - that part was kind of fun when it wasn't terrifying or alienating. It does get complicated when you start getting into second and third interviews and dinners and so on because you can't do all of those and have to pick and choose.  So my issue wasn't so much the pace of the interviews, but just that it became apparent that there were only a few firms I had an interest in and a bunch of them where I really could not see myself working at all, but then I felt committed to keep selling myself to them having gone that far in the process. And of course you get caught up in everyone else's anxiety, so while it wasn't too demanding physically, it was emotionally - the extroverted side of you likely has lots of friends from law school going through the process and lots of 3L friends rooting for you and so my phone was constantly going off with people wanting to know how it was going, offering advice, complaining about their situation, etc.  As it turned out, I was able to predict which offers I would and wouldn't get and they lined up more or less with the firms where I had more of an interest, so there were a bunch of useless interviews where it was obvious I wasn't interested in them or them in me.  I would think 10 or 12 interviews are plenty and you should be able to narrow them down, but 20 will not be impossible, it's just silly.  I assume if you got 20, you have very good grades and an interesting resume, and if you're saying you're more of an extrovert, you're likely decent in interviews. I wouldn't think you have to worry about 20 interviews to maximize your chances of getting hired - that seems overly cautious to me. 
    • Just an FYI for whomever may be reading this, more than one account isn't allowed. If you have a reason for setting up a throwaway, it should be cleared with the mod team first. We can't be having every student who goes through the OCI process having duplicate accounts.  To the OP: you can continue this thread with the new account but for this thread only.  Once you receive answers to your questions, the second account will be suspended.
    • 1. I was referring to the difficulty of going from, say, Osgoode to a job in New York. Every year some students are hired by firms down south. (At U of T it can be as much as 10% of the class.) But these positions are highly competitive and firms are very grade selective. With respect to American law schools, conventional wisdom is that NY Big Law is the easiest market to get to. No one cares about ‘local ties’ in NY—and, more importantly, there are a ton of jobs. (The most competitive market is probably Washington, DC.) However! It’s still hard in the sense that you can quite easily go to a T14 law school and fail to secure a position.  2. It doesn’t really matter. You will have one year of work experience baked in to your student visa. Then, once you have a job, you apply for an H1-B through your prospective employer. If that doesn’t work out, you can fall back on NAFTAs TN status (knock on wood). You may be at a disadvantage with smaller firms, but the big shops hire foreign nationals all the time.
    • Thanks for the reply. 

      The two main issues you identify are cost and not being able to work in the public sector. I'm 99% sure that I want to work in the private sector, so the unavailability of public sector work isn't a problem for me. However, the cost is definitely something I'll have to consider; 300 grand (or more) is a hell of a thing to go through life with. I'd like to clarify a couple things:

      When you say "You can go to the NY from U of T, Osgoode, or McGill—but, that said, if your overriding concern is working in the US, you should know that it’s hard to pull off" are you saying that it would be difficult to pull off if I went to a Canadian law school, or difficult to pull off even if I went to school in the US?

      Would not being a permanent resident, as opposed to just not being a citizen, significantly impact my ability to find work in the private sector?

       
×