Tech tips for lawyers: 10 ways I’ve improved my workspace in 2022

Posted by DM Jones, a US attorney and associate writer for Legal Futures Associate Casedo

Time for a ring light

Spring has sprung and, with it, the urge to do a bit of spring cleaning. With a little turn-of-season pep in my step, I turned my attention to my physical and virtual workspaces (temporarily avoiding my partner’s suggestions to clean the basement).

After tinkering here and there and reflecting on my progress, I’ve put together 10 ways I’ve improved my workspace so far in 2022.

1. I added a second curved monitor

I doubled my screen real estate, moving from one 34″ curved monitor to two. Why? Because I’ve determined that my optimum workflow involves four windows, so each screen is split in half with content.

Generally, on one screen I have Casedo (legal technology software that offers two independent document-viewing areas, allowing me to navigate through the case file). On the other, I have Word on one half and a web browser on the other half.

The curved monitors are mounted on independent arms and they’re arranged in a pleasant semi-circle that helps me avoid eyestrain. Huzzah!

2. I finally bought an at-home docking station and KVM switch

In my home office, I’d often switch from my work computer to my personal computer. With the addition of a docking station and a KVM switch, I always have both machines docked and connected to both monitors. I push a button to switch.

3. I bought an affordable back-up computer (dual threat: macOS & Windows!)

I ran into issues with my personal Mac, culminating in a visit to the Genius Bar. In the troubleshooting process, I realised I could buy a good computer for under £400. Because I give software demos to lawyers who often use Windows, I decided to put a reliable Windows machine in my armory.

Interestingly, I find myself reaching for my new PC more than my Mac. (Don’t tell my 20-year-old self. He’d just die.)

4. I went fully paperless, saying goodbye to my legal pads and Post-It Notes

After a moment of silence, I parted with the last vestiges of my paper-based life, namely my trusty yellow legal pads and Post-It notes. (And my Pilot G2s, RIP).

My colleague (and something of a Dumbledore-level tech wizard) at Casedo suggested that I check out the reMarkable 2, a digital whiteboard/notepad. Although I still forget what’s in my array of writings, at least I carry those writings with me.

5. I bought a ring light (And I don’t even Insta)

I debated with this one, initially fearing someone would come in my office and think I was having a midlife crisis, attempting to TikTok or Insta or something. But I was having oh-so-2022 issues with my web meetings, noticing changes in my office lighting throughout the day. With my ring light, the lighting is now consistent.

6. I connected with my inner child and put fun trinkets on my desk

Don’t underestimate the power of a fun trinket. I added a metal fidget spinner and a bag of that sand-dough type stuff that never dries out. When I’m working through a big idea and staring off into the distance, I find myself reaching for these gizmos. And I think there’s a bit of stress relief, too.

7. I switched apps for my capturing middle-of-the-night ideas and to-dos

I know I’m really connected with a case or project when I wake up thinking about it. Sometimes I’ll wake up with just the right phrase to put into my argument. Or think of something I needed to research just a little more before wrapping up.

I used to e-mail myself, but that only added to the chaos greeting me in my inbox. I also tried stock apps on my phone but found that I didn’t like them. I ended up switching up my app situation, finding apps that not only work on my phone and desktop but also make it very, very easy to rapidly add ideas/lists and then organise them.

8. I finally gave noise-cancelling headphones another try. And liked them

I was a holdout, but now I believe in the AirPods. For better or worse, they put me in the silent studio of my head.

9. I adopted a new password manager

I’d been using the free password manager tools on my phone and browser, but longed for a better way. I bit the bullet and tried a paid solution. Thankfully, I’m no longer playing the password-guessing game or regularly thinking about my first car, long-deceased childhood pet, or mother’s maiden name. It’s a better way.

10. I’m giving myself permission to work outside sometimes

I’ll close my list with a bit of grace. Now that I’m working even more efficiently than before, I’m giving myself permission to work outside from time to time, especially when I have grind-it-out tasks that require attention but not screen real estate… and that could be made far more joyful with a bit of fresh air. Cheers to spring.



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