How Lawyers Work: Chad Burton, Former Litigator and Parental Unit

In this week’s edition of How Lawyers Work, we talked to Chad Burton, CEO of CuroLegal and a former litigator who developed one of the nation’s first “new model” law firms, leveraging cloud-based technology and modern business practices to develop a lean virtual law firm.

You can follow Chad on Twitter and LinkedIn.

What apps or tools are essential to your daily workflow?

I have been on a mission to minimize what is needed to work effectively. On the hardware front, I use an iPhone 7, Apple Watch and AirPods, along with some form of a paper notebook. As I explored with Sam, this is been my work setup/experiment since Fall 2016. This has caused me to develop a weird addiction to different types of Moleskine notebooks.

On apps, we primarily run CuroLegal on GSuites (I think that’s what Google calls it now), Trello and Slack. I use the native Apple iOS apps, including Mail, Messages, Reminders, Notes and Calendar. Now that Apple has released the new Clips video app, I just want to record videos and send those to people instead of writing messages. I’m sure that won’t annoy anyone.

What does your workspace look like?

It varies. My primary office is simple—a desk and chair (that I think are from IKEA) with device chargers. I use Siri and voice-to-text quite a bit (I used Dragon Anywhere to draft these answers). That allows me to walk around/pace while I work.

I also travel a lot so being mobile is critical and having a “workspace” is not really a thing for me. Now that the weather is getting warmer, I will work outside quite a bit.

How do you keep track of your calendars/deadlines?

Apple’s native Reminders and Calendar. I pull Trello cards into Reminders with Siri, so they are next to my other tasks. I like the iOS Today screen so I can see a snapshot of everything on my agenda for the day, or I look at my Watch to see what’s next, or I ask Siri. I removed most apps from my iPhone’s home screen to force this behavior.

What’s your coffee service setup? (Other beverages are fine, of course, but you should really be serving coffee!)

I consume an uncomfortable amount of coffee. I use a Keurig—fast and simple. Good or bad, I drink hotel room coffee when traveling. I often have the hotel bring up several extra packets because room service or other coffee options in the hotel are typically not available when I wake up early and want to start working. I think it should be illegal for a hotel not to include a coffee maker in rooms by default.

What is one thing that you listen to/read/watch that everyone should?

Old West Wing episodes on Netflix.

What’s your favorite local place to network or work solo?

Starbucks. I haven’t found a better local coffee shop (non-chain) that allows me to use my Watch to pay for coffee (nor have I tried that hard). I use the Starbucks app. So yes, I choose where I work simply based on whether I can or cannot use my Apple Watch to buy stuff. Totally normal.

What are three things you do without fail every day?

  • Pace my house/hotel room early in the morning plotting the future of the legal profession (again, totally normal).
  • Consume a ridiculous amount of information, including regular news, technology and the legal profession from Twitter/podcasts/Apple News/Facebook.
  • Figure out some hack to automate my life/workflow. This is not something I do intentionally, it just happens.

Who else would you like to see answer these questions?

Chas Rampenthal.

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