In this week’s edition of How Lawyers Work, we hear from Jordan L. Couch, a workers’ compensation attorney at Palace Law in University Place, Washington. Jordan has a variety of experiences in the legal field but now focuses primarily on helping injured workers obtain the full compensation they deserve. Outside of work, Jordan spends his time advocating for new and innovative approaches to legal services.
What apps or tools are essential to your daily workflow?
I’ve designed my workflow around three goals: (1) nothing is ever forgotten; (2) efficient use of mental space; and (3) strict priorities. This keeps me from going insane or missing deadlines, but it has also made me entirely dependent on a few apps. Most importantly Clio, Trello, and Slack. Everything I do and every event or appointment is recorded in Clio. All of my tasks are put in Trello and given due dates. Slack (in addition to being how I communicate with the office) in essence picks up the slack. If I’m away from Trello or have a short note, I record it in slack and set reminders to make sure I come back to that and get it properly recorded.
All of this has made me highly attached to my phone. I’m obsessive about recording everything and I tell people who ask me questions or come to me with tasks to record them in the same way. As a litigator, I have to keep a lot of information in my mind so for the day to day workflow, I always tell people that if it’s not in Clio, Trello, or Slack it doesn’t exist and it won’t get done.
What does your workspace look like?
It’s a half fishing lodge, half tech startup, with just a touch of wine bar. At least the physical office. These days I can and do work from anywhere. I’m currently on a beach in San Diego drinking tea and enjoying the beautiful sun. When I work from home I prefer to sit in the window seat looking out over Freeway Park and the city of Seattle. But when I’m in the office it’s a tad more orderly. The whole building is decorated with antique fishing equipment, leather furniture, and a fireplace at the entrance. Some of that fishing vibe makes its way into my office.
I’ve never been one to take life too seriously and dealing with clients requires a lot of seriousness and stress so I have tried to make my office a bit more relaxed. I have your typical stress balls, but also a hackysack and a deck of cards I’ve been known to throw at targets about the office. In one corner I have a large red bean bag chair I like to work from. In another, I have a bookshelf with case files and another with books and articles I have enjoyed (mostly but not exclusively legal). Perhaps the most surprising thing is a large wine rack filled with empty wine and artisan cider bottles. In addition to being a fun decoration, my boss and I use it as a catalogue of things we like.
How do you keep track of your calendars and deadlines?
Clio and Trello. With a few extra tools on the back end, some of which we have built ourselves and some of which can be synced to Clio and Trello. Because of the high case load everything with a deadline gets run through a system we built that creates multiple reminders and triple checks everything, including putting notices on calendars and Trello boards.
What is your coffee service setup?
Despite my years in Seattle I am not and have never been a coffee drinker. We serve a variety of coffee from two Keurig machines and a large drip coffee machine but I have yet to touch any of it. My boss has also been known to come through with little espressos he makes in his office. While I love this smell I always let it pass by and stick to tea. We have a lot of that in the office as well and a hot water purifier/dispenser. I usually go high caffeine in the morning (English Breakfast or Earl Grey) and taper off in the afternoon (white or green tea) and into a caffeine-free night (chamomile or orange peel).
What is one thing that you listen to, read, or watch that everyone should?
Anything by Maria Konnikova. She has two books now; Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes; and The Confidence Game. She also has a podcast called The Grift.
What is your favorite local place to network or work solo?
There’s a great brewery in Seattle called Optimism. I have done a lot of networking there, even more board game playing, and occasionally some weekend work. It’s a small brewery with about 12 beers on tap at a time. I’ve never had one that wasn’t phenomenal. They allow dogs in and have a patio out back where food trucks park and outdoor games can be played.
What are three things you do without fail every day?
Read something for fun, play with an animal (usually a dog or a cat, but I’ve been known to play with snakes, lizards, and the occasional wallaby), and spend time outside (running, hiking, fishing, camping, or even just sitting and enjoying the views from a park).
Who else would you like to see answer these questions?
Shreya Ley, John Hardie, Munish Bharti, Forrest Carlson