State Bar's #txlawdesk project reveals traditional office styles and heavy workloads

As we take a look at the first installment of the State Bar of Texas’s #txlawdesk social media project, it’s clear that many Texas lawyers keep traditional desks.

According to the Harvard Business Review’s October 2014 cover story, the design of an office or workspace can affect a host of important issues, including collaboration, concentration, rejuvenation (breaks for our bodies and brains), productivity, creativity, communication, income, and job satisfaction. Many businesses, particularly large tech companies like Facebook and Samsung, put considerable resources into designing office layouts and choosing tools and gadgets.

But while many Silicon Valley startups favor open offices with public spaces and modern multi-person desks, the vast majority of our #txlawdesk submissions featured classic, dark wood desks located in private offices. Some desks were clean and others proved messy with piles of paper. Many had personal touches such as family photos or artwork, and several offices featured standing desks, a nod to the increasingly prevalent notion that sitting can be harmful for your health.

We’ve included some of the most interesting photos from the #txlawdesk project, along with each person’s top five items that are indispensable to their daily practices. Keep sharing and discussing what keeps you organized, motivated, and effective. We’ll be doing another blog in the coming weeks to feature fascinating new Texas law desks as well as ones we might have missed the first time around.

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#TBT: Celebrating 75 years of Texas legal history

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the State Bar of Texas.

As we celebrate, we want to engage lawyers and the general public on a variety of historical facts pertaining to State Bar and Texas legal history. What better way to showcase our history with you than through Throwback Thursdays?

Every Thursday, we’ll provide a photo and snippet of historical context via the State Bar of Texas Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram social media pages.

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SMU conference to focus on social media and the law

On October 17, sponsored in part by the Computer and Technology Section of the State Bar of Texas, Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law will host a symposium and CLE that will feature discussions on social media matters, such as constitutional questions, issues with judges and juries, and the ethical use of these online resources.

A variety of legal academics will speak, including John Browning, chair of the Texas Bar Journal Board of Editors.

Attendees may receive up to 3.75 hours of CLE during the session, which takes place from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the university’s Underwood Law Library. For more information, email Lisa Browning at browning@smu.edu or Carrie Thomas at carriet@smu.edu.

 

Working It: Show your stuff at #txlawdesk

For many Texas lawyers, desks and offices take on a significant importance in our lives and careers. Often these spaces become a representation of our professional identities, home to our creative idiosyncrasies, and landing pad for our often-challenging workload. After all, workers in America clock in more time than those in any other country in the world, taking less time off and retiring later in life. While most of the United States works a little more than 40 hours a week, many professions, including the law, demand much more. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “The majority of lawyers work full time, and many work long hours.”

Even if you’re an attorney pulling a standard workweek or are doing some part-time work—chances are you spend significant amounts of time at a desk, probably in an office, and commonly for more hours than you spend awake in your own home. It comes as no surprise, then, that websites, publications, and scientific journals have begun analyzing the different styles of desk-keeping, especially the benefits and possible deeper meaning of clean vs. messy (What Your Messy Desk Says About You (It’s a Good Thing), The Dangers of a Messy Desk, and Clashing Over Office Clutter). And, apparently lawyers in the United Kingdom have been found guilty of having dirtiest desks.

So where does your desk fall in the spectrum of dirty or spotless, cluttered or organized, creative or simplistic? We want to know—what does your space say about you and what tools do you find indispensable to getting the job done? Even if you're a lawyer who spends most of your time in a courthouse or in your car driving between small counties, show us where and how you work. 

Share your workspace photos with the State Bar of Texas (@statebaroftexas) via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram using the hashtag #txlawdesk. Alternately, you can email your photo to tbj@texasbar.com. Be sure to note your five favorite items featured in the photo, such as a tablet that helps you manage workflow, a lamp that puts off the perfect glow, a comfortable chair or stand-up desk, a to-do list app on your smartphone, or a window that gives you the clear mind you need to tackle another day. For inspiration check out this list of 40 Inspiring Workspaces of the Famously Creative and Lifehacker's series How I Work.

Particularly interesting, impressive, or messy desks will be featured on the Texas Bar Blog. Now get to work!

 

Disclaimer: By submitting any photographs via social media to #txlawdesk at the State Bar of Texas, you agree to give the State Bar of Texas, Texas Bar Blog, and Texas Bar Journal the right to use, publish, and edit the photograph(s) and that they can credit you by name upon publication. You also agree that the photograph(s) and additional information you submit are original, accurate, under your ownership, and that they do not violate the rights of any third party nor do they present any falsities or misleading impressions.

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