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Lawyering on the Go: 5 Tips for Working While Traveling

By Mark Wilson, Esq. on November 19, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

I hope you've purchased your Costco-sized bottle of antacids: The holiday season means travel, and travel means stress via missed flights, delayed flights, poor weather, nasty people, and luggage that's in Boston instead of Albuquerque (but don't worry; you'll get a $25 voucher for your troubles).

So how can you get work done on the go? Thankfully, airports, airplanes, trains, and even buses are much friendlier to getting work done than they ever have been. (Downside: You're expected to be working all the time.) Here are a few tips that can help:

1. Have a Spare Battery and Charger on Hand

If your laptop permits it (sorry, MacBooks), have a spare battery charged and ready to go. That way, you won't have to stop working once your laptop's battery dies. Alternatively -- or additionally -- make sure you have your charger. Airports have power outlets all over the place, and increasingly, so do airplanes and commuter trains.

2. Get a Tablet

I bring to you these Ten Command ... wait, wrong tablets.

No one needs a tablet computer like an iPad Air or a Nexus Whatever, but they're really helpful. Their batteries last all day, so you can work for a long time on them, and the years have been kind to standard business applications like Excel, whose tablet versions allow editing on the tablet. What a concept!

3. Have Something Analog to Do

If your electronics are all dead, that doesn't mean you can finally pick up Fifty Shades of Grey. The much ballyhooed "paperless office" is still a pipe dream, as any lawyer with Bankers Boxes full of documents can tell you. Ideally, you'd also have some paper documents along with you, like a deposition transcript to mark up or some cases to read that you printed from Westlaw.

4. Pen and Paper Can Work Everywhere

Let's talk client confidentiality. And let's talk about how it's not helped along by having your giant laptop screen open on the plane. Sure, you get work done, but now everyone knows who John Doe is and what his causes of action are. (That's why you may want to invest in a laptop privacy screen.) Still, where there are other nosy people around, you may want to consider reverting to old-fashioned pen and paper, which, incidentally, work great in a cramped environment.

5. How About Don't?

Don't work on a plane, on a train, in a house, or with a mouse. You shouldn't be working here or there, you shouldn't be working anywhere!

Bloomberg Businessweek offers eight reasons why you shouldn't work on a plane, so don't. Instead, open that copy of Fifty Shades of Grey and relax for the next couple of hours. You'll have plenty of time to stress yourself out later.

Have any more ideas for working on the go? Let us know via Twitter (@FindLawLP) or Facebook (FindLaw for Legal Professionals).

Editor's Note, November 24, 2015: This post was first published in November 2014. It has since been updated.

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