Happy Administrative Professionals Week!

Gifts for Administrative Professionals2018 Update: Administrative Professionals’ Day is April 25, 2018. You can check out our most recent thread on what we’re getting for our assistants on Administrative Professionals’ Day here

Although Wednesday is officially Administrative Professionals Day, it’s been spreading into a weeklong affair for a few years now.  Readers, what are you getting your administrative professionals to celebrate?  Some past reading for you: we’ve taken polls on administrative professionals day gifts before, talked about how and what to delegate to your assistant, and swapped stories of amazing assistants (Pictured: It’s Your Day Bouquet® Thank You, available at 1-800-Flowers for $39-$49.)

For my $.02: in my BigLaw experience, this day and week paled in comparison to the year-end assistant’s gift, and a card + flowers presentation from the numerous people sharing a secretary was more than fine.  As we noted in our last poll, the vast majority of people gave less than $50.  Don’t discount the floral/balloon display as part of the gift, though — I’ve always thought that part of this holiday is about broadcasting to the world (and your higher ups) that YES, you remembered the holiday, and YES, you are capable of ordering flowers for your assistant without his or her assistance.

Readers, how much are you spending on your administrative assistant or secretary this week (cash plus gift)? What gift are you getting him or her?  In general, what kind of things do you delegate to your assistant?



  1. I am planning to take Lynn out to Lunch at the CELLAR in Macy’s. She love’s PASTA and they make a GREAT Garlic Penne Pasta. Now that she is dateing Mason, she doesn’t care that much about her wieght, so she is up for the PASTA. I want to spend a littel time alone with her (away from Mason), since they seem to be liveing together, I think at Mason’s apartement. I can tell b/c she is the one that OFTEN does NOT come in with fresh clotheing, haveing spent the nite before at HIS place. I have to warn her not to get to lazy yet, b/c he has NOT yet agreed to marry her. I found out she is NOT pregenent yet b/c she was complaieneing about her period so you can NOT be pregenent and have that also. That is a good thing b/c Mason is way to young to father a child, tho I am NOT. FOOEY!

  2. shortperson :

    card + sephora gift card. she likes fancy perfume.

  3. Any ideas for my fantastic male secretary? He doesn’t seem like the flowers type…

    • Senior Attorney :

      Lunch? Booze? Gift card?

    • For any admin, male or female, maybe a professional development course?

      • Disagree? :

        I’d say no. Would you want a CLE for your Christmas bonus or birthday? I sure wouldn’t. If I got that when I was an admin I’d feel like my boss was saying, “you kind of suck, here’s something to get better.”

      • Definitely not. It’s really good to support someone that wants to pursue professional development, but it is not an appropriate appreciation gift.

    • Meat

    • A gift card to a restaurant, Amazon, or iTunes is usually good for male or female assistants. One of my colleagues once gave his male admin a case of beer the day after admin day because the assistant had received flowers along with all of the female admins. According to my coworker that was “just wrong.”

  4. Anon in NYC :

    Flowers plus a Visa or Amex gift card. This year I’m going to spend $100, evenly split between the two, which is more than I have spent in the past because I’m going it alone rather than splitting it with the other associates, and the price of the floral arrangement seems to have increased. I’ve never seen my assistant eat or drink anything that would give me an idea of her preferences, so I can’t do something like a Starbucks or restaurant gift card.

  5. Senior Attorney :

    Gah. I hate this holiday. I hated it when I was a secretary (way back in the Dark Ages when we had IBM Selectric typewriters) and I hate it now. My feeling was always “How about we give fair compensation for the job, and forego the Hallmark holiday?”

    Mercifully, the culture in my current position is in accord with that view. I go pretty nuts at the end of the year and I am confident my staff feels very appreciated indeed.

  6. I hated it when I was a secretary too, lo these many years ago. But I might have hated it less if I had gotten a nice gift card along with the flowers.

  7. AnonInfinity :

    The partner I share with is recommending we take our assistant out for lunch. I can’t imagine she wants to eat with us. We’re all friendly, but certainly not the kind of friends that would hang out after work or anything like that. Do others do this? How is it received?

    • Anonymous :

      This is a big tradition at my firm. It seems to be a little more fun for the assistants when attorneys team up (so instead of two or three lawyers taking out their assistant, five lawyers might collectively take out two assistants) because it blunts the “eating lunch with my bosses” awkwardness.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I agree. And take her to a fancy place. In my workplace we don’t generally hang out, but I definitely take my staff out to lunch at a fancy place over the holidays and they seem to enjoy it.

  8. I hate this holiday too. Our senior paralegal makes the same amount as the attorneys so I hate shelling out money all the time.

  9. lucy stone :

    Gov’t attorney. I have a paralegal to myself and then an assistant I share with the big boss. I ordered flowers for each of them (we’re splitting the cost on the assistant), sending them to a professional development breakfast, and then I’ll take them out to lunch. I’ll probably end up spending $75 or so on each of them, which I am fine with because they make my work life 1000x easier every day.

  10. When I was an ass’t. I *hated* the flowers (and thank god, it never occurred to my boss to get a balloon) and card because it seemed so incredibly patronizing. That said, I absolutely did spent the amex gift cards!

  11. I’m a law student finishing up a semester in a clinic that has a secretary. Does just flowers sound alright as a duel Admin Assistants’ Day and end-of-the-term present?

    (On a similar note oh god help me I still can’t think of presents for my clerkship recommendation letter writing profs.)

    • For the clerkship recs, I would focus on a really nice (as in meaningful and heartfelt, not super fancy) thank you note.

  12. As an assistant/ paralegal i think the day is nice but not necessary. if you’re going to get something, to echo the above, gift cards are practical and appreciated.

  13. Anonymous :

    I don’t gift to paralegals because I don’t consider them admin- is that wrong? I sent my assistant flowers usually…

  14. Realized (per above) that part of the reason I thought it was so awful was that I had to do the expense allocation & reporting of the purchase of the flowers, card, and gift card. Please don’t do that to your ass’t. It’s rude, really.

  15. We do not have a secretary…. so we are treating our office (2 lawyers, 2 paralegals and a social worker) to lunch. Any excuse to have a bit of fun during the work day :)

  16. Anonymous in NYC :

    I came up with a really thoughtful gift for my paralegal last year. This year, though, I’m in the middle of a promising interview (somewhere I’ve already worked) and don’t really want to go through the effort if I’m leaving. Wrong of me? Just lazy?

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