How Lawyers Work: Joshua Holt, Private Equity Lawyer & Debt Conqueror

In this week’s edition of How Lawyers Work, we talked to Joshua Holt. Josh is a practicing private equity attorney in NYC and founder of The Biglaw Investor, a blog that talks about money and lawyers. Together, he’s hoping to foster a conversation among lawyers on how to make smart financial decisions to ensure lawyers meet their financial goals.

You can follow Josh on Twitter and LinkedIn.

What’s your elevator pitch?

I talk with lawyers. About money and finance. So we can all win.

What apps or tools are essential to your daily workflow?

The minimal amount necessary is usually the best. When it comes to hardware, I use an iPhone 8, iPad Pro and MacBook Pro (in addition to whatever computer is provided to me by the law firm). It’s expensive to get involved in the Apple ecosystem but I believe paying for quality is worth it.

I’m a big fan of the iPad Pro because it has allowed me to adopt a paperless practice. I don’t think the iPad Pro is for everyone just yet, but if you’re willing to put in the effort, it feels wonderful to have every document you need at your fingertips.

For apps, I couldn’t get by without DevonThink, for organizing and searching documents; ToDoist for task management; Ulysses for writing blog posts for my site; and Drafts for taking notes quickly and later directing them to their proper place.

What does your workspace look like?

My workspace is minimal. The less stuff, the better. Stuff just seems to remind me of all the things I should or could be doing but am not. I don’t have the mental space for that so I don’t keep it around.

How do you keep track of your calendars and deadlines?

I use Fantastical on iOS and BusyCal on the Macbook. Most of my important calendar events are stored in Outlook on my work machine. It’s not the best having to jump between two different platforms, but I’m holding out hope that someday large law firms will switch to the Mac platform (although who am I kidding, that’s never going to happen). For travel, I use TripIt Pro to automatically assemble trip information and then I subscribe to a calendar of all my trips in BusyCal.

What is your coffee service setup?

I gave up coffee a few years ago, which is a shame because I enjoy the taste so much. Instead, I’ve found a much smoother ride with CogniTea, a blend of tea plus an infusion of L-Theanine Suntheanine, the amino acid supposedly responsible for the calming effect of green tea. The balance between the extra caffeine and the calming effect of the green tea amino acid is the right blend of energy but without the coffee jitters or crashes. It works so well for me.

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

I think everyone should read The Simple Path to Wealth by JL Collins.The financial services industry tries really hard to convince you that personal finance is hard. Why? Because then they’re standing right there offering to sell you services to help you through the difficulty. In reality, there’s a very simple path to wealth that involves only a few key steps (the hard part is executing it consistently). JL Collins did a great job summing it up. I’m trying to bring that same message to lawyers.

What is your favorite local place to network or work solo?

I’m a big fan of the local Starbucks when I need to get outside of my apartment. Otherwise, I usually just show up to the office early in the morning so I can get in some time alone before the craziness of a day starts.

What are three things you do without fail every day?

1.) Write down every idea. I’m a true believer in “mind like water” from David Allen’s Getting Things Done. My brain is great at generating ideas but horrible at remembering them. I use the Drafts app on my iPhone and iPad to capture every thought. If I don’t write it down, I’ve basically given myself permission to forget it. This habit has resulted in so much peace because I almost never spend any time trying to remember open loops in my head.

2.) Listen to music. I couldn’t get through the day without firing up Spotify at some point. I’m perfectly happy to have music playing in the background as I work. I don’t find it distracting at all.

3.) Check and respond to email. Wow, that’s depressing to admit, but it’s true. Not a day goes by that I don’t check my email.

Who else would you like to see answer these questions?

Okeoma Moronu from the Happy Lawyer Project.

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