Top view thirties retro writers desk with typewriter

In this week’s edition of How Lawyers Work, we talked to Randall Ryder. Randall sues debt collectors that harass consumers, assists consumers with student loan issues, and defends consumers in debt collection lawsuits. He is also an attorney instructor at the University of Minnesota Law School.

You can follow Randall on LinkedIn.

What apps or tools are essential to your daily workflow?

My brain, legal pad, and a pen.

I use a smartphone and a fancy MacBook Pro like every other member of Gen X.

That said, making a conscious effort to disconnect, and use my brain, my hand, and a piece of paper are key to solving whatever cluster-disaster I’m currently dealing with.

What does your workspace look like?

A 27” Apple Thunderbolt monitor with a MacBook Pro in clamshell mode on a fancy glass stand, and then a clear desk on the side, for all my handwritten brainstorming.

And of course, cool wall art that may or may not be comic-book related. Most importantly, pictures of my wife, my kids, and their artwork.

How do you keep track of your calendars/deadlines?

Google Calendar and Tasks in Clio with automatic reminders.

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

There’s a commercial coffee maker and commerical coffee grinder in our kitchen. Being the coffee snob that I am, I tend to find myself working out of various local coffee shops that brew awesome coffee. Round Table in St. Paul is great, and I also love Intelligentsia coffee at Glam Doll (and donuts).

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

The Washington Post and New York Times. Last time I checked, lawyers are sworn to support the Constitution. Lawyers are also in a unique, and critical, position to impact people’s lives through legislation and the legal process. If you don’t know what’s happening, it’s a lot harder to make an impact.

That said, you have to balance that with something like The Onion. Life is better when you laugh.

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

I love working at coffee shops. I spend most of my time working in an office by myself, so taking time to sit in a coffee shop for an hour is nice background noise. And working in different locations always triggers my brain to think in different ways.

What are three things you do without fail every day?

(1) Laugh with my wife and kids, (2) be thankful for my wife and kids, (3) do my job and stand up for someone that needs help.

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