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In her Motion to Organize weekly column, lawyer Jennifer Gumbel talks organization, productivity, and more.

Paperless. Digital. Online. Cloud Storage. E-Filing. The practice of law is involving less and less of the tangible. Digital has its benefits and cheerleaders. Access to information from anywhere, freedom from physically storing files, piece of mind from the risks of fire and flood, are all reasons to move to the modern era.

But, in the push for paperless, we can forget that analog, tangible paper still has a place. The physical motion of writing on paper has benefits for memory. It also has the ultimate in flexibility. You aren’t tethered to your laptop, a program, or app. You don’t need power for a pen and notepad. On the occasions I find myself in the courtroom, I have applicable statutes and witness questions typed out in a word document and printed on good, old-fashioned paper. I leave space for notetaking and shifts in argument or questions depending on what happens. That ability to amend my thought process on the fly is something I’ve really only been able to do with physical pen and paper.

Paper isn’t just good for you. Paper is likely extremely necessary for your clients. We deal in documentation. For some of us, emails with scans work fine. But for many of us, digital documentation isn’t going to cut it. Leave room for paper in your practice.

Jennifer Gumbel

Jennifer Gumbel is an estate planning and probate lawyer in Austin, Minnesota. She takes her morbid nerd-dom to another level by talking about how to organize your after life, with the website An Organized (after)Life and the podcast, An Organized (after)Life, which you can find on the website, Spreaker and ITunes. You can also find her on Instagram with pics on death organizing and small town Minnesota life at the handle @jengumbel.

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