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Sometimes it takes a global pandemic to confirm the precariousness of your financial position.

According to the World Economic Forum, COVID has caused an economic shock three times worse than the 2008 financial crisis. Even if a vaccine was discovered tomorrow, it will likely take months, if not years, to repair the devastation to the economy. This is a hard fact that we must face.

But instead of waiting for the government, rich relatives, or anyone else to offer assistance in these trying times, it’s incumbent on each and every one of us to buckle up and work towards a better future for ourselves and our families. …


Dear followers,

First, I want to thank you all for following me on Medium. This “blog” has allowed me to express my, sometimes, contrarian thoughts on work, personal finances, and entrepreneurship.

Moving forward, I will be writing weekly on Substack. This is because sometimes I want to write shorter posts and Medium’s algorithim tends to favour long-form articles. Also, for those who wish to support my writing will be able to do so directly.

I will write public articles there but most of my writing will be members-only. Again, this is to offset the costs and labour of writing.

I intend to occasionally publish on Medium but it will be infrequent and most likely cross-posts from my public Substack articles. …


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Starting a new law firm is exciting. An obvious perk is freedom from the 9 to 5 but the real benefit is the opportunity to build something out of nothing. To create a service that people want but don’t yet have.

Antiquated notions are laying siege on the legal profession’s attempts to enter the twenty-first century. Are litigators like Lionel Hutz or Harvey Spectre? Are legal fees commensurate with the results? Are Big Law firms the best law firms? Are the oldest lawyers the best lawyers?

There are so many poor preconceived notions of lawyers that clients, understandably, approach hiring a lawyer from a place of mistrust. …


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How we describe our data-driven style of advocacy at JTC Litigation.

It’s insane to me how law firms do little to help clients make an informed decision on who is best to represent them.

Let’s start with law firm websites. For one, they all look the same. There’s a summary of the areas they practice, people on the team, and a highlight reel of their successes. But there’s not all that much about the firm’s ethos or the personalities of the legal team. Clients can’t tell if the lawyer they will retain will be responsive, approachable, and talk to them rather than at them.

Law firms are also bad at presenting costs. Granted, not all law firms use the same fee model but those who operate on the billable hour don’t really explain the reasoning behind their “price.” All clients assume is that senior lawyers are more expensive than junior lawyers. …


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Yesterday, I received my new phone — the base model of the iPhone SE 2020. Aside from the reasonable price tag and solid build quality that Apple products are known for, Apple has constructed a smartphone that strikes the right balance between utility and passivity. In other words, it allows me to do everything that I need to do but its constraints make it much easier for me to put the phone away after I’ve completed specific tasks. This is the perfect phone for digital minimalists.

I estimate that the iPhone SE 2020 has about 90% of the functionalities of the iPhone 11 Pro for less than half the price. This is tremendous value. You can easily make calls, send and receive text messages, listen to podcasts and audiobooks, capture beautiful photos, and access all the other standard applications that you rely on. Unless you need night sight capabilities (which, unless you’re a professional photographer, no one needs) or a few other niche offerings only available in the top tier smartphones, the iPhone SE 2020 will more than suit your needs. …


And why experience doesn’t help much.

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As a litigator, I make intuitive predictions all the time. But does the mere fact that I make them often mean that they’re more accurate than those who make them sporadically? Does experience improve accuracy?

Philip Tetlock says no. This may come as a surprise to the legal profession, a field with no shortage of traditions, in which deference is generously afforded to senior counsel.

This is not always a bad thing. But in the exercise of prediction-making, it might be. …


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Working from home has its advantages and disadvantages. While we no longer have the dead time associated with commuting to and from work, there is no shortage of endless distractions in our digital and physical environment. This led me to think: am I squandering this “extra” time?

While I agree with recent literature on the importance of taking it easy on ourselves during this unprecedented time in recent history, I’ve noticed my habits and routines slipping, leaving me to experience a low-grade, persistent hum of anxiety, sluggishness, and distraction.

Sensing the impact this may have on my clients, family, and, of course, myself, I am committing myself to a month-long challenge (May 6 — June 6) to reduce my reliance on optional technology and increase the time I spend in the analog world. And given that I’ve recently opened up my own law firm, it’s a perfect time to carve out a new work routine concentrated on deep work. If you feel like this too, I invite you to create your own analog challenge too. …


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Working from home has been a difficult adjustment. Unlike so many others, I actually prefer to work in an office as opposed to from home because it provides a defined physical boundary that separates when I practice law and when I don’t. When I worked in a law firm, I preferred to stay late at the office rather than leave at a regular time and work from home simply because then I could tell myself that I didn’t need to look at e-mails or any work-related documents until the following day. …


An exploration into how anchoring bias impact our judgment.

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Anchoring

As he explains in his Nobel Prize-winning book, “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” Daniel Kahneman vehemently disagreed with Amos Tversky, his longtime research partner, as to how and where anchoring impacted judgment.

While Kahneman argued that anchors primed us through association, a defect of the automatic nature of System 1, Tversky believed that we created predictions through a continuous, intentional process of “moving” away from an anchor until we reached the boundary of uncertainty.

It wasn’t until Tversky’s passing that both theories were independently verified. …


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Given that many of us have had to limit our superfluous spending as a consequence of the pandemic, I thought it would be interesting to learn about the history of conspicuous consumption.

My assumption was that the concept of “conspicuous consumption” was a modern invention, perhaps emerging from the mid-20th century after the Great Depression. It turns out that it has much deeper roots.

Back to the Future

About

Jennifer Taylor Chan

Productivity, craftsmanship, and the pursuit of excellence at work. Writing now at jennifertchan.substack.com.

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