Law Technology News
June 2002
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Five Desktop Essentials

What are the five most essential items on every attorney's desktop?

Five Desktop Essentials EDITOR'S NOTE: Jay Foonberg, in his ABA classic, How to Start and Build a Law Practice, has a often-quoted passage about desks. His number one recommendation: "Get a picture of your wife (or husband) and children, and place it on your desk facing you, not facing the client. Look at the photo whever you feel awkward about charing fees. ... If you don't have a family, put up a picture of whatever is dependent upon you, whether it be a boat or a plane or a pair of skis."

Speaking of boats, we thought it might be fun in this kick-off-summer issue, to see what tech denizens suggest as necessary accoutrements to a fine desk. Enjoy!

JOE BOOKMAN Ozmosys

Five Desktop Essentials Besides a computer:

1. E-mail

2. Word processing

3. "Current awareness" (Ozmosys-type service)

4. Calendar / scheduling

5. Practice management (varies depending upon practice.)

BRUCE DORNER Solo Practitioner

1. Start with the computer. It's the focal point of my desk and the tool used the most to get the day organized, the work out the door and future planning on the way to success.

2. Telephone.

3. Yellow pad or paper. No matter how hard I try, there's always a need for a quick note and the PDA sometimes isn't the fastest or best tool for all circumstances.

4. PDA (personal digital assistant). Don't leave the office without it.

5. Scanner to shrink the paper pile into electronic bits and bytes.

EDWARD POLL Edward Poll & associates Inc.

Aside from computer:

1. Telephone.

2. Marketing calendar (separate from any other calendar one might be using).

3. Utensils (pen, pencil, paper).

Five Desktop Essentials 4. File on which one is currently working.

5. A personal item (photo, etc.) that is one reason to continue to work.

JUDITH FLOURNOY Kelley, Drye & Warren L.L.P.

1. Telephone.

2. Computer.

3. PDA or Rolodex.

4. Billing/collection information.

5. Family photos.

SALLY GONZALEZ Hildebrandt TechGroup

For all lawyers: Telephone. Computer. Red pens.

For lawyers over 50: Freshly sharpened pencils with good erasers and a dictaphone

For lawyers under 35: PDA of choice (docked to laptop).

LOREN JONES Consultant

1. Telephone.

2. Computer (preferably a laptop with docking station).

3. 17-inch flat panel monitor (clears a ton of desk space).

4. BlackBerry cradle (for synching the BlackBerry).

5. Visioneer scanner.

JOHN McGUCKIN Union Bank of Calif. N.A.

1. Computer.

2. Telephone.

3. Clock.

Five Desktop Essentials 4. Pictures of people to remind you why you're doing all this.

5. A sign that says, "Don't fret and have patience."

JOHN "TIM" MELLITZ Mellitz & Associates

1. Telephone (with speakerphone).

2. Stapler and/or paper clips or PostIt Notes. (It's a toss-up.)

3. "Invisible pile." (Gotta do it someday.) [A clean desk is the sign of a sick mind.]

4. Yellow pad (letter size.)

5. Pen or pencil (Mont Blanc or Cross.)

CATHY PAUNOV Pennington Consulting

I am tempted to say computer, computer, computer, computer, computer, but here's my real answer:

1. Telephone.

2. Computer.

3. Note paper.

Five Desktop Essentials 4. Plenty of writing instruments.

5. Picture of family or whatever other incentive you need to work and get paid (boat, vacation, etc.).

ALBERT BARSOCCHINI The LawTek Group

1. Word processing, i.e.Word and WordPerfect.

2. E-mail client, i.e. Outlook or equivalent.

3. Document management, i.e Worldox or equivalent.

4. Time, billing and accounting, i.e. Timeslips, QuickBooks, PCLaw.

5. Practice management, i.e. Time Matter, Abacus, Amicus.

DAVID BILINSKY The Law Society of British Columbia

My wireless keyboard and mouse; my USB microphone and headset that I use to answer the telephone (and for voice recognition as soon as I get the &^%&^%&%% hardware bugs straightened out); my old analog clock, my laptop computer and my coffee cup!

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