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Paralegals, Would You Be Insulted by a Spa Gift Certificate?

Paralegals, Would You Be Insulted by a Spa Gift Certificate?

I’m breaking my self-imposed moratorium on blogging this week (everybody needs a digital break) to weigh in on the green – both the wearing of it and the receiving of it.

First, it’s bonus time. Well, maybe not for everybody. After all, there’s no rule that says legal staffers get bonuses at Christmas. (Second, see my next post where I make like an elf.)

I’m also pretty sure there’s no rule that legal staffers get cash for Christmas, although Above the Law says bonus etiquette requires attorneys to pay their staffers in the same currency they expect to receive.

In this economy, I expect bonus etiquette is changing, if not falling by the wayside.

But David Lat over at Above the Law also says a friend of his, a former paralegal, was insulted when the attorneys she worked for chipped in and bought her a gift certificate to a spa, “so she could get herself a massage.” 

Apparently, “paralegals, at least at large firms…are a trickier proposition.”


I guess I’m old school, but a gift is a gift is a gift. As employees, we expect to receive the salary and benefits negotiated during our interview and subsequent reviews. A bonus is simply gravy, and like gravy, it may not always be passed around the table.

Me? I’d love a gift certificate to a spa, because normally I have to spend my hard-earned dollars on car tires, laundry detergent, emergency vet bills, and electricity.

What about you guys? Would you be insulted if your supervising attorney(s) gave you a gift certificate to a spa for Christmas?

Source:  Above the Law

3 Responses to Paralegals, Would You Be Insulted by a Spa Gift Certificate?

  1. I'm with you Lynne; I'd be delighted to receive a spa certificate – a treat I would rarely buy myself. As you say, a gift is a gift, and I'm grateful for it.

  2. One of the attorneys I work for gives me a spa gift certificate every year and I don't find it insulting at all. I find it quite lovely.

    Re: bonuses I agree with you completely. I used to get one every year at my last job at the end of the fiscal year. They were based on company and individual performance and could be quite generous. That said I was always shocked at people who complained that they were counting on bigger bonuses. Doing your yearly budget planning around a bonus is not recommended!

  3. I wouldn't be insulted with a gift. At least I know the attorney was trying.

    The first year I worked for an attorney, he gave me a cheese basket and gift certificate. However, I can't eat cheese. He was bit mortified about giving me something I can't eat, but I told him it was the thought that counts.

    The next year, he gave me chocolate. He said he noticed I keep a bag of chocolate in my desk so he was pretty sure that was safe.

Contact Info:

Lynne J. DeVenny, N.C. State Bar Certified Paralegal

Owner & Virtual Paralegal, DeVenny Paralegal Services

Email: lynne.devenny[at]

Telephone: 336-582-0003

Inquiries are welcome, with free quotes available.

Meet Lynne:

Lynne DeVenny is a North Carolina State Bar Certified Paralegal with over 27 years of experience working on complex litigation cases, including medical malpractice, personal injury, workers’ compensation, and Social Security disability.

Disclosure: I am not a lawyer and cannot provide legal representation or legal advice.

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