Real estate: how today’s lawyers work remotely


Ed. Remark: This is the second in a series. Read the first part here.

Since spring 2020, lawyers have gradually put in place the resources and routines that allow them to thrive at work while working from home.

Today, many expect remote working to continue under any industry standard that may emerge.

Our series includes the distractions, hobbies and other activities that make up the remote workplace, to compare your own setup while getting some tips from your peers.

In this edition, we visit the home offices of Orlando-based real estate lawyer, Dean Mead, Kristilee Chihos. Want to share how you’ve adjusted? Click here to participate.

Describe the decoration of your office in one sentence.

I would call my office style “Professional Fantasy” because it contains a healthy balance of books, Harry Potter collectibles, Star Wars memorabilia, academic awards, Avatar: The Last Airbender Funko Pops, And one RBG action figure.

What office equipment do you use for your daily work?

Two large Apple Thunderbolt screens (which were almost free as part of a moving sale), a MacBook Pro, a Apple Magic Keyboard and Mouse, a wireless headset that I always forget to charge, a plate warmer for my cup of tea, and a 3-in-1 printer / scanner / copier.

What key pieces of office furniture do you use?

A very uncomfortable chair from IKEA and a custom wood desk my husband built as his first carpentry project. My office furniture sometimes includes my kitchen table if I need to stretch out a bit more.

What work the adjacent equipment helps?

I really like doing a light workout during lunch hour and breaks. About two years ago I started taking an aerial arts course (like Cirque du Soleil for beginners) and recently installed aerial silks and lyres rigs in my backyard. I use it to do some pull-ups when I take my dogs outside. These small doses of physical activity help me stay energetic and focused for the rest of the work day.

Fashion essentials in videoconferencing?

In fact, I have never participated in a work-related video conference from my home. I am an attorney specializing in transactional real estate, so I do not have any video appearances or depositions in court. Most of my client meetings and office meetings are done the old fashioned way via phone calls.

What are your biggest risks of a meeting bomb?

My husband and I share a home office. He is responsible for digital analysis for a hotel company. So he either gives presentations on data and statistics, or he types code on his mechanical keyboard.

When we know we have a meeting coming at the same time, it will move gracefully into the kitchen or outside. However, most of my customer calls are spontaneous, so I usually search my computer for the terms of the contract while it is 3 feet away to give a presentation on vacation destinations.

We are actually very good colleagues, but I think we will eventually need separate office spaces if we continue to work from home in the long term. I also have two dogs who sleep most of the time all day, with the exception of their strategically planned barking attacks when I’m on the phone with a client or my managing partner.

What’s your favorite post or website to take a break from?

I keep up to date with the news by reading leSkimm, The New York Times, and my local newspaper, the Orlando Sentry.

What are your favorite physical books in your journey (or near)?

I have two shelves in my home office. One is for fiction and the other is for non-fiction. Non-fiction books look good in the background, but my abused Harry Potter books will always be my favorite books for sentimental reasons.

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