Just in time for the holiday season, here is a shopping guide to help you find a good present for everyone on your gift list. This year’s article is packed with goodies from brand-name companies and Wisconsin companies located in areas that the Practice411™ program visited in the last year bringing continuing legal education to more rural areas of the state. There also are some quality products that you can use in your home and office. All prices were compiled in early November 2019, so check for even better deals after reading this article.
Gifts for the (Practical) Professional
Apple AirPods Pro
Last year’s holiday-gift article1 noted Apple AirPods. The difference between AirPods and AirPods Pro is that the Pro edition is designed to deliver additions, such as active noise cancellation, adaptive equalizer, and sweat and water resistance.2 Also offered are customizable earpiece tips (small, medium, and large).
Christopher C. Shattuck, Univ. of La Verne College of Law 2009, M.B.A. U.W.-Oshkosh 2015, is manager of Practice411™, the State Bar’s law practice assistance program. If you have questions about the business aspects of your practice, call (800) 957-4670.
Alternative: Jabra Elite 75t also launched a new version of its 65t product. The 75t is slightly more expensive than the 65t, coming in at $179.99, but it is 20 percent smaller and has a longer battery life.3 The wireless ear buds offer a secure and comfortable fit. This is a great alternative for people who don’t use Apple products.
Apple Watch Series 5
The biggest difference between the Series 4 and Series 5 watch is that the latest model boasts an always-on mode that allows the watch’s face to be continually displayed. With previous models, users had to raise their arm for the watch to display. There is also double the storage than in the Series 4 (32 GB in contrast to 16 GB).4 If you are considering an upgrade from a Series 3 or earlier, the Series 5 offers more features than the comparably priced Series 4 from 2018.
Alternative: FitBit Versa 2 Smartwatch is the same price as the FitBit Versa from last year ($149.95) and offers a longer battery life (six days).5 Versa 2 still does not have an LTE option, but look for that in the future, because Google recently purchased FitBit. Even without an LTE, the Versa 2 offers many of the same features as the Apple Watch, but at half the price.
Meeting Owl has been recommended as a must-have video conferencing tool in several CLE presentations on top tech tips. To operate, place the Meeting Owl in the center of a conference room table. Participants joining the video conference call will have a 360-degree view of the conference room.6 The camera in the Meeting Owl focuses on the person who is speaking and provides a view of the participants at the top of the screen. If you are weary of the traditional views offered by webcams, consider giving the Meeting Owl a try.
Rocketbook Everlast Reusable Notebook
If you are tired of going through countless notebooks, consider this reusable notebook product. Rocketbook works like a traditional notebook, in that you make notes on a page in the Rocketbook. Once you have finished writing notes, you can take a picture with the Rocketbook App, which will download the notes from the page and send those notes to your cloud service provider.7 After the downloading and sending process is complete, you can wipe the page clean and start over.
Cutting-Edge Workout Equipment
You’ve probably seen the commercials showing a fit person working out in front of an interactive wall mirror. For just shy of $1,500 dollars and $39-per-month Mirror membership, you can partake in unlimited live and on-demand workouts.8 Mirror’s website includes several training videos that give you a sense of what it’s like to work out using the mirror. You can train every muscle group, and the mirror comes with a 30-day risk-free trial. So, give it a try and see if it works for you.
Like the Workout Mirror, Peloton advertises consistently through commercials. And also like the Workout Mirror, Peloton requires a $39-per-month membership to participate in workout classes.9 The classes, energy, and enthusiasm marketed for this product seem to be the impetus that keeps people working out and enjoying Peloton Bike. Fortunately, a risk-free 30-day trial also is offered for this product and service. Again, try it out and see if it’s the workout for you.
Gifts Under $50
The Lean Law Firm: Run Your Firm Like The World's Most Efficient and Profitable Businesses
Price: Kindle $43.49
Lawyers often ask how they can make their law firms more efficient, and this book is a great starting point. The book portrays a fictional law firm that uses lean-theory techniques to transform from barely income producing to successful.10 The keys are capturing data points, setting goals, and constantly improving processes to increase efficiencies. The process of continuous improvement never ends, and this book provides several learning opportunities for law firms.
On first glance, this might seem to be a novelty product, but it definitely is not! The product description indicates top uses: air-conditioning inspection, car maintenance, pipeline inspection, home appliance repairs, and wall inspection.11 The endoscope connects via Wi-Fi to several different types of mobile devices. Once connected, you need hold onto only the product to complete your inspections. The product specs indicate an 11.5-foot cable and a waterproof camera. This product is great for homeowners or car enthusiasts.
ROBOQI® Coffee Cup Warmer with wireless charging station
This combination product allows you to warm your coffee cup or wirelessly charge your devices. The product is waterproof and can automatically recognize objects without the need to use a manual switch.12 It is great to use on the go, as it is powered by connection through a USB port.
Toshiba Canvio Basics 1TB Portable External Hard Drive USB 3.0 Black
This could be a great gift for solo practitioners who need to back up their computer data. The product does not require an external AC power cord or software installation before use.13 There is a one-year limited warranty, and you can use the device to supplement existing storage capacity for your PC. This is a must-have item for lawyers who don’t have any hardware for data recovery.
Gifts from Local Companies
Clark County – Old World Sampler Pack
You don’t have to travel to Thorp to enjoy Nolechek's Meats.14 In addition to their old-world sampler pack, consisting of an assortment of local sausages, you can purchase bacon, sausage, bratwurst, and snacks to be shipped and delivered to your home or business. If you are in the area and need to have wild game processed, check their published rates for finished products.
Douglas County – Hot Apple Cider Candle
Who doesn’t love the smell of hot apple cider from a burning candle? You can purchase your own candle online from Rachel’s Rustic Décor.15 If you live in the Superior area, you can also visit her downtown business. If you are in the market for other candles or handmade signs, browse the rest of Rachel’s product offerings in her online store.
Grant County – The National Brewery Museum™ Tour
If you are ever vacationing in the Potosi area, be sure to pay a visit to the museum and take the tour.16 After the tour, explore the rest of the historic Potosi Brewing Company building. You’ll also be able to experience a brewery tour, food and drinks at the restaurant, and other fun events.
Honorable Mention: Easily one of the most interesting products found during our research is Martha’s Hot Mustard, made in Lancaster. $20.50 buys you two 6.2-ounce bottles; two 9.1-ounce bottles cost $23.50.17 The reviews indicate the mustard tastes great on all types of foods and is a staple in Lancaster and surrounding communities.
Green County – Chocolate Cheese
What kind of gift list could we have of local businesses in Wisconsin that did not include cheese? Alp & Dell in Monroe offers a wide selection of fine cheeses, including ones made in Wisconsin, all available for purchase on their website.18 The item that stands out the most is the chocolate cheese, which consists of “white cheddar cheese that is pasteurized into creamy process cheese” with “real cream, butter, sugar, cocoa and walnuts” added.19 This is a great gift to send to your cheese connoisseur friends!
Marinette County – Cherry Wine
Wouldn’t cherry wine be a nice pairing with your chocolate cheese? Forgotten Fire Winery in Marinette offers cherry wine, aged in whisky barrels and made from local cherries, for purchase online.20 If you’re looking for a different pairing, check out the 25 other types of wine offered, such as Wildfire White or Pinot Gris.
Shawano County – Mint Chocolate Swirl Fudge
Nothing beats walking into a candy shop, and if you live in Shawano, you have the luxury of being able to visit Old Glory Candy. Fudge lovers who are not in the area can still enjoy their “white chocolate fudge with green mint and swirl” combined with “velvety milk chocolate fudge.”21 If you are not a fan of mint, Old Glory Candy offers other candy, fudge, chocolates, and services on their website. It’s hard to go wrong when giving candy!
Vernon County – Himalayan Bath Salts
Lawyers work hard and deserve downtime. If you like taking relaxing baths, consider adding Himalayan bath salts from Gary’s Rock Shop in Viroqua.22 The salt crystals will slowly dissolve into your bath and each portion will last for a few baths. Other rock items and resources also are available on Gary’s Rock Shop’s website.
Vilas County – Country Store Favorites
You can put together a tasty gift with one pound of fudge (your choice of flavor), one pound of peanut brittle, one-half pound of pecan turtles, and one pound of caramel corn.23 If you or your gift recipients have different tastes, other gift box options include double fudge crunch, fancy mixed nuts, snappers, and sweet temptations. If none of these suits your needs, browse the rest of the online products offered by the Country Store of Eagle River.
Winnebago County – Nutcracker in the Castle
This self-guided tour is open from Nov. 22, 2019 to Jan. 6, 2020 at the Paine Art Center and Gardens in Oshkosh.24 There are 20 rooms and spaces decorated with different scenes from the Nutcracker ballet. There are also different tours (candlelight and guided), Nutcracker-inspired workshops, and a café. The Paine has several other events throughout the year, so check its website if you cannot make it for the Nutcracker in the Castle.
State Bar of Wisconsin Gifts & Programs
Wisconsin Attorney’s Desk Reference
Do you know a new attorney or a solo practitioner with a general practice? Consider giving the gift of general knowledge. The Wisconsin Attorney’s Desk Reference contains useful information on 11 practice areas and 35 topics grouped by related subject areas.25 It’s a great resource to learn or refresh knowledge on a wide variety of practice areas.
Wisconsin Free Legal Answers
Have you ever wanted to give back to your community and provide legal advice or services on a pro bono basis, but felt like you didn’t have the time? Wisconsin Free Legal Answers solves that problem by allowing State Bar of Wisconsin members to log on any time and answer civil legal questions from low-income individuals.26 State Bar members can volunteer to answer questions by completing the attorney agreement.27 At that page, you’ll find additional information regarding professional liability coverage, conflicts, the attorney-client relationship, and much more. Sign up today!
Association Health Plan
The State Bar recently launched a health insurance program that is available to Wisconsin law firms with two or more employees. To be eligible, a firm must be considered an “employer” under current association health plan regulations. The article New Association Health Plan Gives Small-firm Members a New Health Care Option28 explains the new plan, the types of firms and businesses that qualify, how the plan works, when enrollment begins, and how to obtain a quote. If your firm is considering changing insurers or would like to start offering insurance for employees, look into the State Bar’s new association health plan.
1 See Christopher C. Shattuck, Holiday Shopping: 25 Gift Ideas, Wis. Law., Dec. 2018.
28 See Todd Wayne Martin, New Association Health Plan Gives Small-firm Members a New Health Care Option, InsideTrack, Sept. 18, 2019.