Daily Wrighting—Dec. 13, 2017

On Focused Work

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about eliminating distractions and getting focused work done. Attorney at Work has a nice little article with strategies.

The go-to author, though, is Cal Newport. He calls this deep work, and argues it’s the key to a successful career. A little while ago I read his book So Good They Can’t Ignore You and found it insightful. In today’s world of distractions and social media, making room in the day to be 100% focused on important work is an increasingly rare skill.

I admit I’m not the best at this, but I’m working on it. For a lawyer, especially, I think deep work is more important than anything else.

Editing Thought of the Day

This LawProse lesson takes down the lawyerly practice of using multiple shorthand names when referring to people in a document. The lawyer starts by writing: “… Harold Reynolds (Reynolds or Plaintiff).” After that the lawyer sometimes call this person Reynolds, sometimes Plaintiff. It’s confusing to the reader.

This practice is simple laziness. It’s done so that the writer doesn’t have to think about using one name consistently.

Thanks to LawProse for demolishing it.

Interesting Stuff

  • Here’s the story of a solo lawyer paying off $150,000 of student loans in 7 years. I have a very similar goal. Most of the debt-payoff stories I’ve seen are about young lawyers who managed to land jobs in big firms; the high salary was a key part of paying off those massive law school loans. It’s nice to hear a story of someone managing to do it without a job in biglaw.
  • ZokuVault is a “virtual safety deposit box for estate planning documents.” I think this service is a good idea. Estate planning lawyers tend to be the last ones to catch up with technology, but the truth is that our increasingly digital lives have some big implications for estate planning. Can your family control your Facebook account after your death? Do they know where your estate planning documents are located? ZokuVault looks to play a useful part in these questions. I will definitely consider suggesting this to clients as a way to make communication and access to important documents easier, more convenient, and even more secure.
  • On the subject of estate planning and digital legacy, this Lifehacker guide is a good place to start.
  • Also, consider a password manager. I’m trying out LastPass because someone recently tried to log into my Microsoft account. LastPass even provides some of the same secure sharing as ZokuVault and could serve as an alternative.
“Historic District” = a bunch of old Victorian homes.

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