How Lawyers Work: Megan Zavieh, State Bar Defense Attorney and Ethics Counselor

Megan ZaviehIn this week’s edition of How Lawyers Work, we talked to Megan Zavieh. Megan is a state bar defense attorney and general ethics counselor admitted to practice in California, Georgia, New York and New Jersey. She is the current Chair of the Executive Committee of the Solo and Small Firm Section of the State Bar of California and focuses her practice on assisting California lawyers. She runs a virtual law practice at Zavieh Law and blogs at California State Bar Defense. She is a contributor to Lawyerist and a member of the TBD Law Community. 

You can follow Megan on Twitter and LinkedIn.

What apps or tools are essential to your daily workflow?

Number one has to be my calendar.  Without it I’d forget everywhere I’m supposed to be and everything I’m supposed to be doing.  Then my phone and its notes app, where I keep my daily to-do list—the one that could get erased and it would be really annoying but I’d be able to recreate it.  Next would be my white board, which is my full to-do list with multiple sections, and I’m absolutely lost if that gets erased.  That’s why I take a picture of it whenever it changes so I don’t live in fear of the eraser.  And finally, my running shoes.  If they don’t make it on my feet each day, the rest of the day’s flow is way off.

What does your workspace look like?

Messier than my vision of workspace worthy of an Ikea catalog.

However, it’s bright and sunny, which is critical, and when I am working I can look straight out to the trees.  It’s an energizing space filled with many of my favorite things, like a painting of Elsa from Frozen, a Cats poster painted by my daughter, and a model of an orange 1966 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia that my husband gave me for my very first law office. (My first car was an orange 1970 Ghia, so I really love that one.)

I work entirely on a single laptop, after having experimented with various screen and desktop configurations.  I can always unplug and pop over to Starbucks or a spot in nature, and I love that freedom.

How do you keep track of your calendars/deadlines?

Google Calendar is the key to ruling my hectic schedule.  I have it integrated into Acuity Scheduling, where clients schedule meetings with me.  It is synced to my phone along with the calendars of everyone whose schedule matters to me.  I use it to remind me of upcoming deadlines.  I tried a variety of other task manager apps, but nothing worked as well as just putting it on my calendar.  I was a very late adopter of an electronic calendar because I like to be able to write reminders and notes and skip ahead week by week, and Google Calendar comes closest for me.

I also use a corner of my white board to highlight my next upcoming major deadlines.

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

I pretty much live on caffeine, so good strong coffee is critical to my existence.  I have a nice drip coffee maker that only made the cut after many tryouts.  It has to be strong enough, and most drip machines just don’t do it, but I love my Hamilton Beach Stay or Go for a simple cup.  It’s programmed before I go to bed every night, because I need a cup before my day gets going.  Then I also have a red Breville Barista Express for all-day Americanos and lattes.  My husband and seven-year-old daughter both make incredible lattes.

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

Really inspiring and fun music.  I love to blast the music, sing out loud and dance with my children when there’s room.  A good loud inspiring song can elevate my mood any time.  Current favorites include “Try Everything” (Shakira, from Zootopia), “Because We Can” (Bon Jovi), “Counting Stars” (OneRepublic), “Pompeii” (Bastille), and I still love “Let It Go” (from Frozen).

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

Sometimes I just need fresh air and solitude, so I head over to Chattahoochee Nature Center and sit outside and work.  It’s particularly good for writing briefs when the research is done and I just need to be left alone to create.

What are three things you do without fail every day?

Run or train at the gym.  Drink significant amounts of coffee.  Play with my family.

Who else would you like to see answer these questions?

Ed Walters, CEO of Fastcase.

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