Post Authored By: Kasim Carbide
Going to the office is a thing of the past; long live working from home. Most lawyers have had no other choice than to adjust to working from home due to coronavirus, and some have found the transition easier than others.
While past generations of lawyers were accustomed to commuting and gathering around the water cooler, current lawyers know that working from home eliminates these traditional problems, and presents a few new ones. This article will cover the basic necessities that any work-from-home set up should have, and it provides the tools to establish your very own “golden set-up” from the comfort of your own home.
First and foremost: get a laptop. As we all know by now, when your office and home are one in the same, the environment can get stale pretty quickly. Most lawyers find that working from different rooms, or in different places can provide a refresh to an otherwise dull day or week. When the work is getting done, does it really matter whether you do it from a chair or your sofa? Only a laptop will provide this kind of mobility.[i] My personal recommendation: a Macbook Air. This sleek, affordable, and powerful laptop will do everything from word processing and research, to watching Netflix and browsing the internet.
Second, you need two monitors and a VESA mount. When you use a two monitor set up, it is proven that you will get more work done in a day.[ii] What’s the logic behind this? As lawyers, we reference a lot. Whether that is researching case law, drafting a motion or a brief, or editing a contract. Using two monitors will save you the countless clicks from one document to another, while supercharging your productivity to focus on the task at hand.[iii] While this can cost anywhere from $100 to $1,000, depending on the quality of your monitors, your your neck, back, and eyes will thank you from the future.
Third, invest in a dock. While this is a bit of an investment ($50 – $300), you will immediately reap its rewards. A dock at home allows you to turn your laptop into a desktop when plugged in. If you’ve been reading carefully, by combining the first three steps of this article, you have, in essence, a powerful and mobile desktop computer set up from home. For those days that you need to draft or research, plugging your laptop into a dock that outputs to two monitors supercharges your productivity, but allows you to unplug and change your environment, or work from the couch when you need a change of pace. Try doing that with a desktop!
Fourth, invest in a comfortable chair. This one is pretty simple, and self-explanatory. Again, your future neck, back, and eyes will thank you.
Next, you need security, which comes in two forms: (1) backup, and (2) a secured connection. A simple external hard drive connected to your dock means that your laptop will automatically back itself up, every day. Both PC and Mac have options for automatic backups. In a world moving toward electronic everything, protecting your client’s data and your work product is vital.[iv] A simple VPN protects your data and secures your connection. My personal recommendation: Nord VPN. For the cost of a cup of coffee from Starbucks every month, you receive the protection to secure your connection and prevent your client’s data, and even more importantly, you adhere to your ethical duty. This one is a no-brainer!
Finally, get ready like you’re going to work, and wear your work clothes. Wearing a suit or dress around the house may seem a bit odd at first, but you’ll quickly realize that wearing work clothes kick starts your mind and puts it into “work mode.”[v]
Buying and incorporating these simple tools into your daily work flow will not only increase your productivity, it will help you create the ideal work-from-home set up that will last you well past coronavirus. While tech companies were the first to adopt and implement long term work-from-home policies, many non-tech companies, and now even law firms, have started to accept the undoubted paradigm shift. Don’t get left in the past: adopt these tips and bring your work-from-home set up into the twenty-first century!
[i] George Khoury, Esq., Desktop vs. Docking Station: What’s Best for Lawyers?, FindLaw (Oct. 24, 2017, 6:58 AM.), https://blogs.findlaw.com/technologist/2017/10/desktop-versus-docking-station-whats-best-for-lawyers.html.
[ii] Luigi Benetton, Working with Multiple Monitors in Your Law Office, Attorney at Work (Aug. 10, 2017), https://www.attorneyatwork.com/working-with-multiple-monitors-law-office/.
[iii] Kristina Hart, An Update on One Firm’s Telecommuting Journey, Law Practice Today (Mar. 13, 2020), https://www.lawpracticetoday.org/article/update-one-firms-telecommuting-journey/.
i[v] Sharon Green, Why it’s important to get dressed while working from home, Ladders (May 8, 2020), https://www.theladders.com/career-advice/why-its-important-to-get-dressed-while-working-from-home-and-what-to-wear.
About the Author:
Kasim Carbide concentrates his practice in Corporate Law, Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering Compliance, and counseling FinTech startups. When he is not reading or billing, Kasim enjoys cooking, watching the Office, and playing Catan with family and friends.