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


Lawyers are known for staid colors. Maroon, Forest Green, Navy, are ubiquitous in our profession. Partly, they convey a sense of seriousness, formality, and, therefore, professionalism. It may also have something to do with the fact that those colors were popular about twenty-five years ago…and our profession is known for taking its time to evolve. Regardless of why, reliance on old visual cues may not convey to the clients of today what they did to their parents. Instead of professionalism and trust, they can convey stuffiness and unapproachability.

I’ve talked about how the practice of law, especially for the “paper lawyer”, should be viewed as providing organization to our client. In the world of organizers, there’s a much more cheerful color scheme to utilize, and it’s familiar to anyone who’s been through 8th grade science: ROYGBIV.  (Aka red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.) It’s the basic colors of the color wheel and how light breaks down in its basic elements. Organizers love the scheme because it provides a natural visual flow between items, whether physically on a shelf or organizing content on a page. That natural flow is an instant stress reliever. Doubt it? Go on Instagram and search #roygbiv and #organization. I guarantee your blood pressure will go down a couple notches. The effect of visual cues matching a logical progression is calming.

ROYGBIV in the office helps to easily locate items. If the bills are in the green folder, you simply grab according to the first visual cue without any further brain power. Similarly, using ROYGBIV for client materials make them easier to understand and help your client properly utilize legal documents. Using a classic, bright and simple color in marketing lets clients know you’re easy to deal with and will bring simplicity into their life complication.

Whether it’s providing finished materials to your client, revamping your branding, or improving internal office organization, ROYBIV is a palette that can provide energizing, active, and accessible cues to potential clients and an orderly visual cue when organizing information. Consider freeing yourself from the staid.

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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