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Imagine a typical Type A lawyer-on-the-go. She’s carrying full-to-the brim briefcases, stacks of legal pads, a laptop with a mess of cables. Well, not always. Below, we look at four lightweights (and we mean that in the positive sense). These four lawyers are finding out that less is more, and that they can still get their work done — and sometimes get it done faster — with fewer things to carry around. Technology is what enables them to lighten their load. THE PAPER CUTTER No more papers, no more books. That’s Paul Shim’s mantra. Shim, 36, is an M&A partner at New York’s Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton. Deal lawyers are known for carrying around drafts, memos, laws, codes and regulations. But Shim has found that he can find most of this stuff on the Web, rather than carry it in his briefcase. All he needs is his IBM X20 laptop. Shim uses Edgar (a subscription service owned by Edgar Online Inc., the free site of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission) and FreeEdgar (the free site of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission) for securities regulations and corporate information. He checks the Web pages of universities, like Cornell University Law School, for state corporate laws. And he logs onto financial printer Bowne & Co. Inc. for “all the corporate securities laws I use.” He also relies on Cleary’s intranet for precedent documents and the like. This wasn’t the way Shim’s business used to get done. He once carried a litigation bag with up to 15 pounds of paper. Now when he goes away on a deal (about every other week), he just brings his laptop and the main deal document. So what made him change? The sites have gotten quicker and easier to use. “The utility of these services has increased dramatically in the last year,” says Shim. To make their lives even more simple, some lawyers tap into online document repositories, such as CaseCentral Inc., and IKON Office Solutions Inc., which store huge chunks of what used to be paper. Shim isn’t up to that yet. But it could make him, oh, so much more paperless. THE CLOTHING CRUNCHER “I used to be the queen of clothes,” says Mary Jean Potenzone, a benefits partner at New York’s Weil, Gotshal & Manges. And then she downsized. Potenzone, 50, still dresses up for meetings. She just got sick of lugging around the suits, the shoes, the skirts, and the blouses, which she would have to hang up, or fold, and iron. So she went a little more pret-a-porter. Potenzone buys dresses that travel well scrunched. She’s partial to Diane Von Furstenberg. The designer invented the wrap-around dress, which is easier to fit in a suitcase than a suit or typical dress and wrinkles less. “I always carry on. I have had my luggage show up to the place I was going after I’ve gone home way too many times,” Potenzone says. She brings along a tweed or neutral jacket that goes with everything, and a few mix-and-match outfits. One pair of shoes. A purse that can double as a mini backpack. And a “meager” make-up kit. “You can’t be beautiful all the time,” Potenzone says. She’s learned to part with her hair dryer, and calls a hotel ahead of time to make sure it can provide one. She brings along sample-sized shampoos and soaps and liberates the small bottles from hotels. That last strategy she learned from a fellow lawyer, a man. “For years men were the breadwinners, and so they know how to do all this stuff. They just passed down their tips to the other people in their guy circle,” says Potenzone. She’s also starting to ditch her laptop. All Weil attorneys get Blackberrys; for Potenzone, this can be better than her portable computer. “For due diligence trips, I still bring my laptop. I need my documents and I need to take notes on what I’ve seen. But for client meetings, all my work is in my head, and in my e-mails,” she says. She now says she takes her laptop with her less than half the time. Too bad she can’t crunch that in her bag, too. THE LONER “The life of a solo practitioner is a lonely one,” says Ben Zander, an IP and trial lawyer with offices in Kenilworth and Mount Holly, N.J. For Zander, 45, it is also a light one. He travels solo with a lonely Palm VII, the one with the funny antenna and wireless access. (He didn’t always live this way. In 1982, he appeared in Mac Week with an unwieldy “Fat Mac” desktop, which he took along on business). From Florida to Boston, Zander goes armed with the Palm and leaves his laptop, and his desktop, at the office. But Zander’s minimalist approach to traveling doesn’t translate to a minimalist approach to work: “I’m able to deal with a large structured transaction with just the Palm Pilot,” Zander brags. There’s little that he can’t do on his Palm VII. He can flip through his client database — synched up with the ones that sit in his two offices — read through the history of a case, and update his next court appearance. The Palm VII has wireless access, so he can e-mail opposing counsel and do legal Web-based research. He can also print out the cases from a two-and-a-half pound printer he connects to the Palm. The Palm is nice, but it’s not a finished work. Zander relies on several add-on programs. He works on Word files with the Document-to-Go conversion program, views Power Point presentations with Album-to-Go, and sets up spreadsheets with Tiny Sheet. As a sole practitioner with 200 active cases, Zander is a busy guy. The Palm helps him slim down his support needs. He has a secretary and a paralegal in each office, but he also needs to take care of his calendar, contact info and messages on the road. “My support staff comes off the antenna on top of my Palm VII,” says Zander. The Palm VII is also a sneaky communication tool. Zander can beam information to another Palm through an infrared port. (And you thought that was just for exchanging phone numbers in bars.) Zander can speak, and the enemy can’t listen. “I was in a meeting once with a bunch of lawyers about a merger agreement, and we working on issues of disclosure. I sent a memo wirelessly, to tell [my co-counsel] we needed a document, and within five seconds he pulled it out of the bag,” says Zander. “It gives the appearance of being smarter than you are.” THE GABBER Roderick McLeod’s mobile office is smaller than a Palm Pilot, bigger than a paper clip, and as fast as the speed of sound. It’s about 4 inches by 1.5 inches, grey, and weighs 4.2 ounces. When McLeod is on the road, all he needs is his Nokia 3390. Last year, McLeod, 52, a complex litigation partner at San Francisco’s Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison, clocked 70,000 miles in the jet stream. He criss-crossed the country over a dozen times, and flew up and down the California coast. And he almost never brought along a laptop. It’s not that he doesn’t know how to use one. Brobeck hands them out to all its lawyers, and he toted one along for awhile. He called it a “a nice toy” — but unnecessary. When McLeod steps on the plane, he brings his phone, a change of clothes (plus “one light sweater, and one plastic raincoat”), and two felt-tipped pens. One red, one green. No matter how cutting edge his phone may be, he still counts on the old-fashioned support staff. During downtime in the airport lounge, he conducts his business over the phone. He has his secretary sift through his e-mail. He answers it by phone. He doesn’t bring a lot of documents, either. He sends heavy files to his hotel ahead of time. If he needs additional information — a memo, a file, whatever, he gets it by fax or FedEx. He drafts motions on paper, and does mark-ups on hard copy. His Brobeck compatriots know his edits by the color of his pens. As for his list of contacts, he relies on slips of paper. And that Outlook calendar? “I can keep my to-do list for the next day in my head. Same thing with my schedule,” McLeod says. As a litigator, he is not totally wowed by the laptop as a courtroom tool. He finds it distracting in a deposition, and can’t see the merits of searching through a database while trying to stare a witness in the face. “I can’t be distracted by what’s on a computer screen,” he says. “I want to be totally focused on the interplay between me and the witness.” The only time he’ll use a laptop in a courtroom is for transcript programs, like LiveNote, or for that occasional research question. But when he’s going with a team, he prefers that someone else bring along the machine.

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