Who are you and what do you do?
My name’s Lisa Solomon and I wear three hats in the legal industry. Through my law practice, Lisa Solomon, Esq. Legal Research & Writing, I assist attorneys with all their legal research and writing needs, including preparing and arguing appeals and drafting substantive motions and trial memoranda. Through my coaching and consulting practice, Legal Research & Writing Pro, I show other lawyers how to start and run successful practices as contract (freelance) attorneys and teach lawyers in all practice areas how to write more persuasive briefs. I also blog about contract lawyering and legal writing. Finally (along with my partner and husband, Mark), I operate The Billable Hour Company, which sells humorous gifts and greeting cards for lawyers and legal professionals.
What’s a typical day like for you?
After dropping my son off at school, I return home and get on the treadmill desk in my downstairs office. I check my email, catch up on Twitter, and dive into work, all while walking at 2.2 mph. I try to get a couple of miles in before breakfast, which I eat at my desk in my main office upstairs (perhaps while treating myself to some Facebook Scrabble). Then it’s back to my treadmill desk, where I may be doing legal research, drafting a brief or talking to a client on the phone (a headset comes in handy for longer calls). I might address administrative issues related to my practice or occasional inquiries from Billable Hour Company customers. Once I’ve finished my miles for the day, I continue working in my main office. When my two kids get home from school, I take a quick break to say hi before the sitter supervises their homework or drives them to after-school activities. I stop to make dinner and spend time with my family in the early evening. Once my son is in bed, I go back to work for a few more hours.
What gear and software do you use, and why?
In my primary home office, I have an older (2005 vintage) PC running Windows XP, with a 23.5″ widescreen ASUS monitor. When I’m at my treadmill desk or on the road, I use a Dell Inspiron 6400 laptop (also running Windows XP). When I’m using my treadmill desk, the laptop is hooked up to a supplemental 17″ monitor for more screen real estate. And I love my Canon Color Imageclass MF8170c multifunction printer: it’s a real workhorse.
The software and web apps I use most often are:
- Intellect! from Chaos Software for email, calendaring and contact management
- TweetDeck to manage my Twitter stream
- Second Copy to sync files between my desktop and laptop
- Firefox with the Readability, Print What You Like, Colorful Tabs, TinyURL Generator and the Facebook Toolbar add-ons installed
- Google Calendar to organize my family’s activities and appointments
- Gmail for supplemental email (my ISP is currently blocking messages from an active listserv I’m on that is important to my practice).
- TextPad text editor (only one of my web sites is built using a blog platform; the other two don’t have any back-end content management system)
- Endicia for Internet postage
- Foxit Reader for viewing PDFs
- Carbonite for remote backup
- Kaspersky antivirus
- Taskbar Shuffle
- Wordperfect 12 (my preferred word processor) and MS Word 2003
- Excel and Powerpoint (from MS Office 2003)
What’s your favorite web working tip?
It pays to be an early adopter. I was one of the first lawyers to recognize and take advantage of the technological advances that make outsourcing legal research and writing services practical and profitable for law firms of all sizes. When I launched my law practice back in 1996, I had to drag some of my clients, kicking and screaming, into the Internet age. Although I could do legal research online, my dial-up connection was painfully slow. But making the leap online early on has helped me gain the visibility and make the online contacts that are critical to success in an information-driven profession.
If you would like to be profiled on WWD, get in touch with me at simon (at) gigaom (dot) com.