2015 Pushin’ the Deadline Gift Guide for the Lady Lawyer


Ok, it’s already into the second week of December and if you haven’t grabbed that gift for the lady lawyer on your list, I’m here to offer suggestions with the help of a few of my friends: lady lawyers from across the country.


I’m a self-confessed planner nut, so this category makes the number one slot on my list. Most lawyers use a paper calendaring system and an electronic calendar (aka our phones). It’s just safer. As a wise man once told me: “The only thing you can screw up that I can’t fix is a deadline.”

I’ve used an Erin Condren planner for the past year and I have one waiting for me under the Christmas tree. I’m excited about the changes I’ve seen made (horizontal layout, less text for more flexibility) and I love the goodies and extras that come with every planner.  Order a generic planner now and they will send you a gift card for a personalized cover–which means you can still get it under the tree in time!

And, they have changeable covers, which means you can get festive all year long. I’m loving this New Years’ Cover:

ec party started

My second choice would probably be either the Inkwell or Simplified planners and I’ve heard positive things about the Day Designer from lawyer friends as well.

Inkwell makes journals of all sorts, but the quarterly journal may be particularly appealing to ladies looking to trim the bulk in their bags.

Current special for quarter bundle: $35.00

inkwell quarterly

They are currently sold out, but I’m sure a gift card would be appreciated; plus, they’ve got other great stuff, like a planner stamp! This is fantastic (hint-use chalk ink in a planner to ensure no bleed through):

Stamp: $7.00

planner stamp


Yes, lawyers love these. There is no such thing as too many. You’d be surprised how many we can get through in a year. First up is Inkwell Press again, with my two favorite designs: “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all,” and the honeycomb print. They have graph paper inside, which comes particularly in handy when you are trying to chart out a fire location or point of shooting. We live charmed lives, don’t we?

Each journal:  $17.00


Mousepad and Headphones

She doesn’t have to live in an office that looks like it was decorated by Charles Dickens himself. Help her say, “umm, no,” to that mousepad her client corporation gave her and yes to something beautiful!

jamie blawg

Jamie K. in Dallas, a bankruptcy attorney, writes: “I enjoy things that make my office feel more ‘me’ since it’s where I spend a ridiculous amount of time. Examples include this beautiful watercolor mousepad:

watercolor purple mousepad

Mousepad is $12.00 from courtneyoquist on easy.com

Rachel V., an attorney in Chicago says:

“I definitely agree with Jamie on personalization! Also, when I was still in an office, a good pair of ear buds were my best friend. Also, I always kept a blanket and small pillow hidden away in my desk…just in case.”

If the lawyer on your list has been very, very nice this year, allow me to recommend my headphones:

bo headphones

These are the Bang & Olufsen Play headphones, which are seriously like a slice of heaven on earth, and available through Amazon Prime 2 day shipping for $367.96.


In the same thread, lawyers everywhere are looking to personalize that space they spend so much time in with unique art.

anne gift guide

Anne Milligan, a Portland-based labor law attorney, spends her day-dreaming minutes filling up a Pinterest board with art to buy for her office.

So far, she’s been very satisfied with her artwork from various artist, including Society6

cat with mouse

$16.00 for this print, which is currently in stock. You can’t go wrong.



Everyone in our focus group of 8 lawyers agreed that a business tiara would be a welcome addition to their desks. For $11.95, she can own the Benevolent Queen of the Enchanted Business Forest Tiara from Bullish and rule her own (small) kingdom.


There are tons of other goodies on that site that my friends definitely wouldn’t say no to, as you can imagine just by looking at that tiara.

Happy Gift Giving!

All’s Fair in Love and Court Reporting

English: Page 88 from official transcript of C...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ll be the first to say it: there are some scary court reporters out there. I’ve seen court reporters who could give looks that would stop Voldemort in his tracks. I’ve heard some yell loudly enough to rupture an ear drum. Recently, I had one insist that my phone be set to airplane mode; silent wasn’t good enough. That being said, I think these types are a minority and a fair amount of indulgence is owed to anyone who works almost exclusively with attorneys for a living.

Then there are the other types of court reporters: helpful, knowledgeable, skilled, and who have just the right amount of assertiveness. I’ve gained a lot of insight into the inner workings of unfamiliar courts by being nice to the court reporter. Once, after an irresponsible court reporter left me in limbo (without a transcript) after my very first deposition, a wonderful woman swooped in and cleaned up the mess.

I called her to book my next deposition: a third-party witness. I was the plaintiff’s attorney in this case, representing an insurer who had a few million on the line. The defendant’s attorney was present & the third-party witness had an attorney present as well. The two other attorneys in the room each had about 30 years of experience on me, but I wasn’t scared. I had done a deposition before and I survived it.

So…here we go…

Me: Will you please state your name for the record?

Witness: “Witness Q. Witness”

Me: Thank you. What is your current address?

Witness: “Address”

Me: Are you married?

Witness: “I’m taking the Fifth.”

Me: I’m sorry, what?

Witness’s Attorney: “I’m instructing my client not to answer based on a privilege against self-incrimination.”

I started to panic. I’m a civil attorney. My experience with criminal court is limited to hot checks (watching the prosecutor do all of the work) and speeding tickets (I’ve gotten some before). I’ve never heard anyone “take the Fifth” who wasn’t on Law & Order! Thinking…thinking…this guy has some financial problems, probably some white collar crime issues, but no one has suggested that his marriage is in dispute. Ok. I’ve got this.

Me: I don’t think you can do that. Marriage is a matter of public record, there is nothing incriminating about that.

Witness’s Attorney: “Well, I’m still instructing him not to answer.”

Seriously??!! Now what do I do? I start coughing to stall time…**cough***cough**

Enter the court reporter: “I’m sorry, Ms. Wells, did you say that you wanted to certify that question?”

I look at her. She gives me a stare that says: “Yes. Yes you do.”

Me: “Yes, I would like to certify that question.”

And on it went. I asked another 40 non-incriminating questions, the witness refused to answer another 40 non-incriminating question, and I certified every one of them. It turns out, that’s what you do to present a little booklet of unanswered questions to a judge in order to get a ruling on whether or not the deponent has to answer them.

After the deposition, the defendant’s attorney told me she was impressed because she wouldn’t have known what to do in that situation. Thanks to the court reporter, I looked smart and I preserved my client’s rights.

How to Stay on the Court Reporter’s Good Side in Six Easy Steps:

1. Present your business card before a hearing or deposition if you don’t personally know the court reporter.

2. Don’t talk over witnesses and don’t let them talk over you.

3. Speak loudly enough to be understood.

4. Don’t act like they don’t exist; offer to get them a drink, if you are getting one, and other common courtesies.

5. If you plan to offer exhibits, make sure you have clean copies, ready to go.

6. If you find a court reporter that does a good job, use them whenever you can and recommend them to friends.

Am I forgetting any? Share your best or worst court reporting stories below (no names please!).

And if you need a referral, please feel free to email me.