What do the Magazines in Your Office Say About You?

Welcome to Wednesday here on Lawyers and Liquor, where we’re desperately clinging to relevance in an age where attorneys who are on Twitter spend hours on end correcting the lay understanding of the attorney-client privilege. You know, there’s been a lot of legal news since the last time I had a chance to sit down and write something for you guys, hasn’t there? Holy. Shit.

I mean, Trump’s lawyer’s office got raided by the FBI, Sean Hannity was revealed in court to be a client of the same attorney (who only has three clients, all of them prominent members of the GOP? And why weren’t we aware that three prominent members of the GOP are so dipshit-stupid that they all use the same lawyer from Cooley for their legally questionable issues?), and Bill Cosby is being retried for rape. Oh, you weren’t aware of the last one? It doesn’t surprise me. In the world of Trump, the celebrity rapist is the lucky one.

So, of course, in this trying time let’s talk about something vitally important to the practice of law. This is something that sinks many a law office before it even got the chance to start and has a great impact on every client who walks in the door. For many small attorneys, the subject of today’s post is how your clients are going to form their first impressions of you as not only an attorney but as a person as well. I’m talking, of course, about the magazines and reading material that you keep in your waiting room.

Sure, it may not seem important, but the fact is the high-brow literature you provide to your clients as they wait for you to finish scrolling through Facebook and drink your coffee so you can give the impression of being far too busy to meet with them immediately is important. I mean, many lawyers bring these magazines from their homes or other places they frequent, so what reading material is in your office is a reflection of your personality and therefore an indicator of how your clients will get along with you. It can make or break a relationship! Let’s not forget that it’s also important to make sure that you have the best office furniture as well (from places like Office Monster), as if you have bad office furniture, then your clients will also judge you on this as well! This is serious business folks!

So, without further adieu, let’s talk about what different magazines say about you.

The Local Bar Magazine

What it is.

This is your monthly, or sometimes quarterly, publication from your local bar association. Sometimes it’s a full on magazine, other times it may be just a newspaper that you receive. In either case, you likely didn’t do more than glance through the first five or six pages to see if you’re in it anywhere or to see if anyone you know made partner. Then you tossed it out in the waiting area for the clients to read through if, you know, they have any interest in dry articles about dead judges and something that’s supposed to be legal humor but is written by someone who had to have the concept of a joke explained to them at length and still aren’t sure they got it right.

What it says about you.

This magazine says to your clients “I’m a LAWYER. I do LAWYER THINGS. At night, as I go to sleep, I gaze into a mirror and just whisper the word ‘LAWYERrepeatedly to myself. All of my coffee mugs feature the scales of justice on them and I insist that my sexual partners ask me to ‘Govern them accordingly’ when they initiate coitus. ” There’s more the magazine says to your clients, but by that points it’s all sort of merged into the word “LAWYERbeing screamed randomly and a couple half-hearted jokes about adverse possession.

…Don’t be the guy who only has the local bar magazine in your office for your clients, okay?

Country Living

What it is.

Country Living advertises itself as the nations bestselling “shelter” magazine. Founded in 1978, it was apparently due to a renewed interest in simple country living (Hey! That’s where they got the name!) and decor that led to the simplistic juggernaut of “Homes nobody in the actual country can afford shot in a really nice style” to the top of its throne. From an area of the country best known for its down-home, folksy simplicity – New York City – this publication is well-known to everyone who grew up with a mother that really liked imagining that’s how their home looks.

What it says about you.

One way or another, having a copy of Country Living in the waiting room looks good. If you’re a male attorney, people will immediately take it to mean that you must be married and therefore someone out there can stand to be around you. If you’re a female attorney, they’ll think that you’re practical and relatable despite being a damn good, tough as nails professional. If you’re both, however, they may assume you’re a married couple that engages in practicing law.

Highlights for Children

What it is.

Highlights for Children bills itself as “fun with a purpose!” This publication, in existence from 1946 to the present, is a familiar sight in the offices of any professional that ever has kids in the office for any period of time. Filled with fun articles, puzzles, mazes, games, and cartoons like the famous Goofus and Gallant, this magazine has the ability to keep a child occupied for no less than two whole minutes before they start sighing in an annoyed tone and insisting to play with your client’s smartphone at ear-splitting volumes while you finish a conference call. Everyone loves Highlights!

What it says about you.

You practice family law, thank you very much.

Also, it may make your clients lose confidence in you when they realize the word jumbles are all completed in the same handwriting as the notes on your legal pad…and they’re still wrong.

Dentistry Today

What it is.

Dentistry Today is the nation’s #1 clinical news magazine for providers of the mandibular arts! The latest dental veneers are often exhibited in this prestigious magazine. Reading this and seeing all the perfect pearly whites will certainly make you feel that you should book in a checkup with Dentist Orlando; you may even run home for an emergency tooth brushing session. Chock full of articles like “Two Crucial Techniques for Healthier Restorations” (July, 2017) and “Endodontic Treatment Planning in the Fourth Dimension” (October, 2010), your clients are certain to be engrossed by all of the details of oral hygiene! This would probably be better placed in a dentistry office, perhaps as a form of marketing to engage patients (amongst other tactics found on Opencare), but it’ll work for the law office too. They won’t even notice the time you spend walking from the office, fixing coffee, and muttering under your breath as you try to stall talking to the mouth-breathing morons!

What it says about you.

Let me be clear: This magazine definitively states you are stealing reading material from the dentist’s office down the hall. Annoying Dr. Markham and his fancy-schmancy gold plated door placard. Screw’im.

Boy’s Life.

What is it.

Boy’s Life is the official publication of the Boy Scouts of America. Since 1911 it has figured photographs of young men doing what budding young men do – camping, exercising, playing sports, etc. All wholesome American activities that warm the cockles of your heart. The articles are often interesting and written age-appropriately, covering a wide variety of topics that the masculine-identifying youth of today needs to know to raise them into well-informed, wholesome, contributing, and worthwhile members of society!

What it says about you.

If there are more than three issues of this in your office, people are going to think you exclusively represent pedophiles.

Rossiyskaya Gazeta

What it is.

Rossiyskaya Gazeta is the official government newspaper of the Russian government. It is put out daily, making that leaning stack of papers by the corner of your office’s coffee table look a little strange. Typically the paper will contain only the pre-approved message of the Russian government regarding domestic and foreign events, sports, and entertainment. Think of it like the New York Times, if the Times was owned by the United States government and printed only more intelligent sounding versions of official news conferences.

What it says about you.

You’re Michael Cohen.

(Yes. I did all of this just to make a Trump joke.)