Legal Law

Actual Property: How The Authorized Business Is Working Distant

Since the spring of 2020, lawyers have steadily built up the resources and routines that allow them to thrive at work while working from home.

Now, many expect remote work to continue as part of whatever industry standard may emerge. 

In this series, we’re taking you behind the videoconference, showing the home office set-ups of professionals throughout the legal industry. 

Our series includes the distractions, hobbies, and other activities that make up the remote workplace, to benchmark your own setup while gathering a few tips from your peers. 

In this edition, we visit the home offices of Orrick lawyers Laura Brooks Najemy and Matthew LaBrie. Want to share how you’ve adapted? Click here to participate

Matthew LaBrie, Managing Associate, Orrick

ATL: Describe your office decor in one sentence.

Piles of papers and “Alice in Wonderland”-esque stacks of coffee cups with sticky notes on every surface.

What office equipment do you use to complete your day-to-day work?

Two monitors, laptop, iPad, Peloton, red pen, yellow highlighter.

What key pieces of office furniture do you use?

Nothing special: desk and chair.

What work adjacent equipment helps?

I have a portable external monitor and a “MiFi” that lets me be mobile yet still work efficiently when I can’t use my home office.

Any videoconference fashion must-haves?

I have a dark blue Lululemon zip up jacket with a high collar I can throw on over anything in a video-call-emergency. It’s formal enough to look like I dressed with intention for the video call.

What are your biggest meeting-bomb risks?

I’m more terrified of not being on mute than of an unexpected cameo. I always dial in through my phone so I can double mute: mute the computer and mute the phone.

What is your go-to publication or website for taking a breather?

NYT Recipes (and Buzzfeed).

What are your favorite physical books in your background (or nearby)?

Well, on my virtual background, I have a library’s worth of book shelves behind me. In real life, it’s the Blue Book and Obama’s latest book, which I keep trying to finally finish.

Laura Brooks Najemy, Senior Associate

Describe your office decor in one sentence.

“Business casual” — i.e., guest bedroom partially turned into full-time office. 

What office equipment do you use to complete your day-to-day work?

Laptop with built-in camera for Zoom calls, two external monitors, wireless mouse and keyboard, soft-lit desk lights, and — most important — a Mr. Coffee electric coffee cup warmer.

What key pieces of office furniture do you use?

Corner desk, rolling chair, and file organizers on both sides of the desk. 

What work adjacent equipment helps?

The ease of being able to go downstairs to get a snack from my kitchen or to make a second (or third) cup of coffee in my Nespresso machine is certainly helpful on a day-to-day basis!

Any videoconference fashion must-haves?

I find videoconferences amazing because of the comfortable fashion choices that I can make that are always off-camera — i.e., leggings! 

What are your biggest meeting-bomb risks?

My two cats who seem to like to jump up on my desk and knock things over or shove papers around at precisely the least opportune moments. 

What is your go-to publication or website for taking a breather?

I tend to find myself checking my personal email when I need a break and catching up on the news through NY Times or Boston Globe alerts or the Skimm

What are your favorite physical books in your background (or nearby)?

There is a bookshelf full of books next to my desk in my “home office,” but the title that always makes me chuckle is “How To Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting To Kill You.”

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