As lawyers, there are certain items we’ll always have in our briefcases or work bags.
You know, like laptops, phones, pens – the basics we need to tackle everyday law firm life.
But what about when the unexpected occurs? Because it will occur. Whether it’s a sudden rainstorm when you have to meet an important client across town or a phone battery on empty when you’re at the courthouse with hours still to go, there’s no excuse for not being prepared.
With that in mind, here are the essentials to keep in your briefcase that’ll save you in any emergency.
This one’s a no-brainer. Even if the forecast calls for uninterrupted sunshine or you don’t plan to leave your office until late, you can never be 100% sure. You can, however, be sure you don’t want to show up to meet an important client completely soaked through.
Emergency Stain-Removing Pen
In a client-facing profession like law, image is important. So it probably wouldn’t look great to show up to a meeting with a big stain on your shirt. Keeping a stain-remover pen on you at all times will ensure you’ll look perfectly professional, even if you’re secretly a slob (don’t worry, we won’t tell).
Extra Phone and Laptop Chargers
You never know when you’ll accidentally lose one, forget one, or get stuck somewhere without one. And hey, even if you don’t end up needing them, there’s a good chance a colleague will and you’ll save someone else’s day.
Noticing a theme? We cannot emphasize the importance of spare chargers enough. These days, many lawyers use phones instead of digital recorders to record interviews or voice notes, which can be a critical part of your casework. Save yourself the stress of a dead battery, no matter where you are.
Lightning- or Mini-USB-to-USB cord
OK, OK, just one more on the phone/laptop theme: A charger on its own (whether or not it’s portable) is no good without a cord that attaches to it. So, depending on the type of phone you have, keep the appropriate cord handy.
USB Flash Drive
A USB flash drive that’s loaded with backups of all your important documents can be a lifesaver if your laptop crashes, you’re unable to find Wi-Fi, or you leave an important file on your desk. The trick here is to keep your flash drive updated, as it will only be useful if it’s up to date.
A (Relatively) Healthy Snack
The long days and demanding schedules inherent to practicing law mean you’re likely short on time. Which means you’re also short on time to eat. Hunger might not technically be an emergency, but you’ll be able to power through a late-night doc review if you keep some kind of portable snack in your bag. Energy bars or trail mix are good options.
A “Minimergency” Kit
Pain relievers, band-aids, hand sanitizer, breath freshener, dental floss … the kind of personal items that could help you out in a pinch deserve a spot in your briefcase. A number of companies sell pre-stocked minimergency kits, so you don’t even have to worry about forgetting a key item.
Misplace your credit cards? Or arrive for an important lunch meeting only to realize the restaurant’s credit card machine is down? Keeping some cash on you at all time can benefit you in a number of situations. No need to keep rolls of $100 bills (in fact, we advise that you don’t do that), but a few $20s can save you in a pinch.
Go shopping! If anything on the list above is missing from your briefcase, there’s no time like the present to make sure you’re covered for the future.