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.
Melissa Munson (@MelissaAMunson), energy law attorney in Houston
1) dual monitors, 2) month-at-a-glance calendar, 3 )bookshelf of reference resources, 4) Le Pens, and 5) the view from my window!
Christian Dennie (@ChristianDennie), DFW lawyer and college sports law blogger
"I keep it clean. I don’t understand the mountain filing system."
1) family photos, 2) Himalayan salt rock lamp for positive energy, 3) wall of advisers, 4) thinking bat, and 5) computer
Mark Unger (@miunger), family lawyer in San Antonio
"I believe that to be really creative you have to get outside your ‘o-zone’ (office), where everything happens and can distract you. I do a ton of work from wherever I happen to be. For a guy and a lawyer like me, it’s about changing my surroundings to allow me to see all sides of a case (or an obstinate attorney or CLE paper of just life). But what I’ll call my preferred ‘optional virtual practice’ spot is at Local Coffee in San Antonio, in one of the cup-like chairs in a corner nook. It’s where I’ve worked on my recent ‘Observations from the Corner Table’ (a phrase I have to credit to one of my best friends, Eric Greeson)."
Mark T. Mansfield (@thefathermapple), general practitioner in Hurst
“Almost licensed for a year, with the mix-matched furniture to prove it" (a cobbled together Ikea).
1) laptop for travel, 2) scanner for nearly paperless office, 3) wide-screen for: 4) rules and drafts,
5) smartphone for Twitter.
Victor Vital (@vitaladvocacy), Dallas trial lawyer, has set up his office as a "collaborative workspace" with computer screen projected onto the wall and using the floor-to-ceiling windows to do "visual strategizing for upcoming trial."
1) digital whiteboard, 2) computer “screen” projection, 3) collaboration corner, 4) rule books, and 5)
Michael Smith (@mcj_smith), civil litigator in Marshall
“My ‘desk’ is actually the most rarely used part of my work environment. I get most of my work done on either my editing standup desk or my computer monitor standup desk." (left to right): 1) stand-up desk for editing, 2) dictation headset, 3) iPad Air;,4) O’Connor’s Federal Rules, 5a) Varidesk computer stand-up desk, and 5b) ScanSnap
Jason Steed (@5thCircAppeals), appellate and commercial litigation attorney in Dallas
6"x9" notepads, blue-ink Pilot pens, laptop w/ dual-monitor setup, Mountain Dew, Record player/iPod for music
Nicholas Sarokhanian (@NickSarokhanian), Dallas trial lawyer
1) Rosary, 2) family, 3) the Constitution, 4) case-specific legal pads, 5) stationery, and, of course, 5) the Texas Bar Journal.
Don Willett (@JusticeWillett), justice of the Supreme Court of Texas
• #SCOTX courtroom
• conference room
• Court office (Capitol view!)
• satellite office