Let's Start a Law Firm, Episode 3: The Analog Law Firm

In Episode 3 of Let's Start a Law Firm, Ben and Annie explore the non-electronic technologies they use in their practices. In other words, after discussing the various things to consider when deciding whether and what kind of office space to get, our nerds turn quickly to a discussion of their favorite pens, paper, and office products. Ben rhapsodizes about a stapler for a while, an envelope for a little while longer, and his Geek Desk.

Riveting stuff. 

Show notes for Episode 3: The Analog Law Firm

Office Space

Annie has shared office space in the same building as the Louisville Bar Association on Main Street.  

Ben has an office in Bahe, Cook, Cantley, and Nefzger. He used to be in the Starks Building

Working from home? The IRS has simplified the process of claiming the home office deduction. Ben still doesn't think you should take it. He also thinks you should talk to your tax guy or gal and not take tax advice from him.

Ben mentions Back to Work again, so it's worth saying again that if you need to work on time management, setting boundaries, "productivity", or need help thinking about how to do "knowledge work", you should listen to it.  

Office Supplies


Ben's Zebra Sarasa Gel Rollerball Fine 0.5 Pens: strong flow, no smearing, exact.

Annie's Dr. Grip medium point blue pen. 

Not mentioned in the show, but worthy of a show note: the Tul Retractable pen. Ben used this pen for a long time, but the ink smeared on 3x5 cards. If that's not going to be a problem for you, the Tul feels great as it moves across the paper.  

Ben is also fancy enough to like to use a signing pen for correspondence and pleadings. He wouldn't have probably thought to do this except a Pentel Sign Pen somehow showed up in his office supplies. You worked hard on that demand letter. The Sign Pen shows you mean it. 


Annie uses Moleskine notebooks. Ben uses Field Notes.  For the last five years (up until a month ago), he relied exclusively on the Hipster PDA and still thinks that it's the best solution for him. It's just that he loves these little notebooks so much. 

(Aside: Frank and Oak is a good place to get good-looking threads for men.) 

These Rhodia notebooks are costly, but they are a great size and if your scanner automatically detects both sides of the page, using unlined paper means you won't get blank back pages in your scans. 

Ben recently purchased the Ampad 100% Recycled 8 1/2" x 11 3/4" Notepad for daily use at the office. It is pretty standard paper, but eco-friendlier than others and the perforation delivers a unique and pleasing "popping" sensation as it tears.  

Turns out: there's a whole podcast about pens and paper on the mighty 5by5 podcast network. It's called The Pen Addict. Don't miss the most recent episode with Bryan Bedell of Field Notes and a related interview with Jim Coudal, founder of Field Notes. 


Get No. 10 envelopes like these: white and with peel-off adhesive.  

And, make sure to use some 6x9 envelopes. Here's Ben's paean to the 6x9 envelope.  And his Amazon review of the 100% Recycled Ampad Earthwise 9x12 envelope. 

For thick pleadings that you can't fold and that have exhibit tabs, you'll need a 10x12 envelope. The Columbia White does a good job.  


Ben uses a Geek Desk. He bought the big one because there was less of a wait than the regular-sized one. He's super happy with it. If you have the space and the dough, go for it.

If you're going to use a stand-up desk, make sure to budget for a floor mat. It makes a big difference.

Annie uses an old-school desk to protect against the New Madrid fault.  

(Asides: Ben's other splurge when starting up his firm was the entire library of National Consumer Law Center books. Ben doesn't want a treadmill desk. He wanted to start a farm school.) 

Here is the Adjustable Vented Laptop Table Annie uses. A picture is worth a thousand words.  

The Prodigy PaperPro is the only stapler that our listener(s) should be using.

For three-hole punching, Annie recommends the Swingline LiteTouch. If you know going into the job that you're going to be doing a lot of three-hole punching, consider just keeping some pre-punched paper in stock. And buying pre-punched legal pads

Ben uses E-Legal Supply (not "Illegal Supply") for his exhibit tabs and redwelds.  

Ben and Annie agree: if you're going to buy file cabinets, make sure they're Hon-brand file cabinets. Craigslist is a great resource for used Hon file cabinets.  

Additional Analog Items

Not exactly analog, but mentioned in the show: Annie's phone headset so she can make Keurig coffee while talking with clients. (For the record, like a good nerd, Ben uses an Aeropress to brew his Tonx coffee.)

Kleenex: Get the good ones.  You care about your clients. Show them with Kleenex. 

Command Strips for hanging items, wrangling cables, etc.   

Sodastream for fizzy water.  

Mongoose scooter. For getting a) to the courthouse and b) chicks.  

Podcasting equipment: Alessis 8-channel mixer and Rode Procaster microphones (get the boom arm and shockmount, as well. Ben and Annie could probably use pop filters, come to think of it...)  

Amazon Prime

How are you going to get all this great stuff to your office? Amazon Prime

Show credits

Many thanks to Cast Iron Filter for letting us use "Tamarack" from their live album, "Live from the Highway", as our bumper music. CIF's music is available on iTunes and it is simply the best. If your travels take you down a two-lane highway, do not leave home without CIF.  

Photo credit for the "start button" image in our cover art goes to Mijn. Thanks for taking a cool picture and sharing it on Flickr.


Annie has a website and accounts on Facebook and Twitter

So does Ben: websiteFacebookTwitter

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Comments, Questions, and Rants...
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