Have MacBook Air, will travel….
Some days I hanker back to the time when I had a single, solid office space, replete with desk drawers that I could lock overnight, books on the shelves and children’s art projects on the walls. As many of my clients know, I have opted instead for a virtual office, as part of Stark Office Suites. My “office” (that I can have available as needed) is located in downtown Stamford, Connecticut, as is my permanent mailing address and a secure space for client files. But my work space…? Well, that is a lot more varied. By design.
Many days I work from home, in an office I have set up in our house. I have the “traditional” office space there, with a towering file cabinet, landline phone, kitchen, scanner/copier and other amenities. Other times, I am at a client site or conference, or even at a client’s home. Today I am in Mount Kisco, which is part of the virtual office suite included in my lease with Stark. My children are at a weeklong computer camp less than ten minutes away, and I am here plugging away at my desk. I do wish that I had opted to be holed up in a window office this morning rather than this less scenic but nice internal one, but otherwise I couldn’t be more “settled” in my temporary space.
Does change make for a better lawyer?
So, as many friends and clients ask, how is the virtual set up working out for me? Does all this change make for a better lawyer? I sincerely believe so. Not only do I move from one office to another, but I also take Skype calls with clients all across the planet from wherever I happen to be that day. I travel beyond Fairfield and Westchester Counties, with my MacBook Air, cell phone and briefcase of client files at hand. One week I was up in Hartford, CT one day and down in Harlem, NY another. This morning I am in Mount Kisco, NY and this afternoon I’ll be in Weston, CT. Like some people who can sleep anywhere, I can work anywhere. My most interesting client meeting space so far has been on the floor of a yoga studio, sitting cross-legged on bolsters, talking about trademarks. Would you like to top that?
Change is good. Or put more eloquently, in the phrase attributed to Greek philosophers and French poets alike, “The only constant is change.” Change is the perpetual constant.
Change keeps us nimble.
Many lawyers get stuck in their ways, and they are not sufficiently responsive to the changing needs of clients. It is too easy to sit at the same desk each day, looking at the same view, believing that the world will stay as it is and that yesterday’s advice is best for tomorrow.
Just as important, sustained concentration among distractions (like today’s excessive rain or the need to be packed and ready to go at any moment) helps keep us on our toes. When the so-called fire drill strikes and a client needs an immediate answer, we have to be ready to go. Change forces us to stay fresh, with pencils sharpened and minds clear.
One day I may again opt for a standard office arrangement. Life is long, and none of us can predict what days ahead may hold. If I do, I hope to remember the lessons of change.
This post is one in an occasional series about the interplay of legal practice and everyday life. Anne Marie Segal is admitted to practice law in New York and Connecticut and represents clients worldwide.