Our Law Firm’s Favorite Work-From-Home Gear
Updated November 8, 2022.
While JPG Legal has always had some kind of commercial space, it’s never been simply a 9-to-5 job for me, so my home setup has always been about as important as my commercial space setup. I’ve managed our law firm from four different home offices including a basement apartment, a group house, and a cramped shoebox in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
I still walk to JPG Legal’s oversized loft office in DUMBO, Brooklyn about three days a week, but my work life would be very stressful if I didn’t also have a great setup at home. I’ve also had to work while visiting family and in-laws, sometimes for periods of a month or more, so being able to set up a makeshift home office while traveling is important to me.
- Updated November 8, 2022.
- Second Monitor: ASUS ZenScreen 15.6″
- Mouse: Logitech MX Master 3 or Jellycomb Wireless Vertical
- Mouse Pad: Quality Selection Comfort Mouse Pad (Black)
- (Home) Office Chair: Several Choices
- Sit-Stand Desk: Fully Jarvis
- Desk Fan: OPOLAR Small USB Desk Fan
- Wired Headset: Logitech USB Headset H390 or H340
- Laptop: What Kind, What Size, How Much to Spend
- Portable Storage Drive: Samsung T7 Touch Portable SSD (1TB)
- Backpack: AmazonBasics Laptop Computer Backpack
- What Do You Use At Home?
Now that the whole JPG Legal team is primarily working from home, and will be even after pandemic conditions end, I’ve been able to use this accumulated knowledge to recommend gear for my team to buy with their firm-supplied work-from-home budgets.
Here are some of the products I strongly recommend for anybody working from home, or while traveling. These products also make great gifts for the home-workers in your life. Around half of our clients are Amazon sellers, so I would be remiss if I didn’t put Amazon affiliate links in this post. This means that JPG Legal will make money if you buy products through some of these links.
Second Monitor: ASUS ZenScreen 15.6″
Combined with a mouse, the second monitor is the most important computer peripheral for me. It’s so important to me that I’ve bought one of these ZenScreens for every member of my team, separate from their work-from-home budgets. I work noticeably faster with a second monitor and mouse. Certain tasks that involve two windows or tabs become immensely more convenient, including sending invoices and filing new trademark applications.
Occasionally I’ll take a break and use just the laptop by itself, but 85% of the time, I’m using a second monitor. If I stopped using it, I would probably have to work an extra two hours a day to get the same amount of work done.
The ASUS ZenScreen is also great because of how light and compact it is. It’s really easy to take with you while traveling and it takes up very little space, which is valuable if your desk real-estate is limited. It’s light, but also feels very high-quality and sturdy, on a par with Apple products, so I don’t worry about breaking it when I toss it in my carry-on bag.
You may think a screen the size of a large laptop won’t be enough for you, but I’ve used displays of all sizes, including two 34” curved ultrawide monitors at once, and I’ve found that I gain no benefit from using larger or wider displays compared to the 15.6” ZenScreen. In fact, I’ve found that the larger displays make my eyes get tired much faster and I ended up getting rid of all of them and using a smaller display at my real office in addition to my home one. November 8 2022 Update: I now use a 34″ monitor in my setup again, combined with blue-light-blocking glasses.
Having a real mouse is about as important as having a second monitor. The improvement in my workflow when using a real mouse is very noticeable to me, especially when using two displays. For people with medium or larger hands, I recommend the Logitech MX Master 3 Advanced Wireless Mouse, which is what I use.
I find this mouse very comfortable to use. And while the previous generation, the MX Master 2, was too big for people with smaller hands, the MX Master 3 is noticeably less bulky and should be comfortable for pretty much anybody’s hands. It also has an ergonomically sloped top and rubber thumb groove.
Not only does work well for all kinds of functions, from scrolling to editing to gaming, but it also includes features like Flow, which allows you to use multiple computers at once with the same mouse, even dragging files from one to the other.
If you use PCs, you should get the standard one. If you exclusively use Macs and iPads, you might want to get the new MX Master 3 for Mac, so you can drag files directly from your laptop and your tablet using Flow. However, from reviews I’ve watched, the two mice have identical functionality and the “for Mac” thing seems to be purely a marketing gimmick. I like the more metallic look though.For those with small hands, I recommend the Jelly Comb Wireless Vertical mouse, which is what my wife uses. It’s also much less expensive than the MX Master.
Mouse Pad: Quality Selection Comfort Mouse Pad (Black)
This one isn’t as important, but it matters. I’ve had fancy mousepads made out of fancy materials that I’ve hated rolling my mouse over. I’ve also noticed that light-colored mousepads get visibly dirty and can look disgusting after a couple of months, so I recommend a plain black mousepad.
The area of the mousepad matters too. Gamers tend to prefer larger mousepads, but I prefer a small-to-medium size. The Quality Selection Comfort Mouse Pad is what I use. It’s $5.99, doesn’t stand out, and lasts for months (I haven’t had to replace mine yet).
(Home) Office Chair: Several Choices
At the law firm office, we mainly use the Herman Miller Mirra 2, which is a wonderful and very attractive chair that breathes really well. At my own office desk, I have the Herman Miller Embody, which is the nicest office chair I’ve ever used. We also have one Steelcase Gesture, which looks like an awesome Star Trek chair, but which I don’t find as comfortable as the others.
Not only are the above chairs too expensive for most people’s home offices, but they also take up a lot of space. At home I personally use the IKEA Markus, with the arms removed so I can push it under my desk.
It’s pretty comfortable for me most of the time, but is noticeably inferior to the Herman Miller chairs.
Recently I’ve also gotten into the HAG Capisco stool. You can sit on it in a number of positions, all of them good for your back and hips. It’s ideal for somebody using a sit-stand desk.
I love sitting on it in the much-touted “reverse” position with my legs around the back, which feels kind of like being a rock climber who has fallen off and is dangling by their suspension gear. It has a lot of the same benefits of standing, but it’s more comfortable for long periods.
Sit-Stand Desk: Fully Jarvis
Electronically controlled sit-stand desks are the future, and I’ve been buying the same one for several years now. JPG Legal has six Fully Jarvis adjustable sit-stand desks in our office. All of them are 48″ by 30″, all have white bases, and most have the bamboo top (one notable exception being the old door I mounted onto a Jarvis base for my wife).
These desks come with electronic controls that let you store height presets. They’re very stable and I think they’re the ideal office desk. I’m not one of those weirdos who want to stand all the time, but when I find myself feeling particularly sluggish, I push the button to raise the desk up and then I either stand up or hop on my stool. This seems to help me re-focus.
Desk Fan: OPOLAR Small USB Desk Fan
When you’re working with electronics, it’s easy for your desk area to get warmer than the rest of the room. I’m a huge fan of the OPOLAR USB desk fan. Just plug it into your laptop or laptop dongle, choose your speed using the button on the back, and that’s it. It’s cheap, quiet, small, and as powerful or weak as you want. I’ve been using mine for years without having to replace it.
While bluetooth headsets have come a long way in recent years, I still very much appreciate simply being able to plug a headset into my laptop and know that it will work. My whole team is issued the Logitech H390 USB Headset because it’s very affordable, it’s comfortable, and it works. The sound quality of the headphones and microphone is very good, and I can wear it for hours without hurting my ears or head. Weirdly, I’ve found that the fancier the headphones, the less time I can wear them before I have to take them off because I get uncomfortable. So I’ve stuck with these. For an even less expensive version, the Logitech USB Headset H340 is a great choice as well.
Laptop: What Kind, What Size, How Much to Spend
The computer is the single most important tool for working from home. I won’t get too deep into the age-old Mac vs. PC debate, but some people may want to know which we use.
Our law firm supplies recent-model 15” MacBook Pros to all of our employees. They simply work better than PCs, and last much longer without slowing down as they age. There are also strong indications that Macs are ultimately cheaper for companies than PCs because PCs require significantly more tech support for employees. I’m the de facto tech support hotline at my firm so this means I can spend more of my time on other things, like drawing little graphics for my blog posts.
If you can help it, don’t skimp on your computer purchase, particularly when it comes to your storage and RAM. I make sure every laptop used at my firm has at least 16GB of RAM and a 100% solid state drive (SSD) rather than a hard disk drive. Both of these specs allow my team to work more efficiently by letting them run multiple windows at once and access their files quickly. Spending more money on these two specifications is the best way to future-proof your laptop. If choosing between a smaller SSD and a large hard drive or “hybrid” drive, choose the SSD. You can always buy a spacious external SSD if you run out of space (see below).
I buy all of JPG Legal’s MacBooks (and iPads) from Apple’s official refurbished store. Refurbished Macs are essentially new computers with a 15% discount. The downside is that you may have to wait a few days before a computer with the exact specs you want is available, but it’s worth it.
Portable Storage Drive: Samsung T7 Touch Portable SSD (1TB)
The Samsung T7 Touch Portable SSD is an excellent current-generation external drive. It’s physically tiny, it’s quiet, and because it’s a solid state drive connected by USB C (or standard USB if you prefer), it’s extremely fast as well as future-proof. I recommend the 1TB one for most people, but it also comes in 500GB and 2TB options.
Backpack: AmazonBasics Laptop Computer Backpack
This isn’t a work-from-home item, but it’s in my illustration at the top of this post and it’s helpful for going to the local coffeeshop or park to work. I’ve had the AmazonBasics Laptop Computer Bag since 2015 and it’s served me really well.
What Do You Use At Home?
What do you like to use when working at home? Reply in the comments with your favorite work-from-home gear picks!
Click Here to Learn More About Our
Trademark Registration Packages.
Follow Jeremy on Twitter.