Long ago when I practiced consumer bankruptcy law, I used to think about the precise meaning of tools of the trade. Oklahoma opted out of the federal bankruptcy exemptions and we use the state statutory exemptions instead. One of the exemptions was “Implements of husbandry necessary to farm the homestead and tools, apparatus and books used in any trade or profession of such person or a dependent of such person” with a limit as to total value. Once I had to research how that applied to lawyers and concluded that law books were covered.
Today, of course, the physical law firm research library has given way to digital research tools. In 2018 I wrote a column called The Lawyer’s Tools of the Trade, which also linked back to a similar article I had written long before called Equipping the Law Office 2012. (I note boldly predicting in the 2012 piece that fax machines would be disappearing.)
Many of the tools mentioned are still my most-used tools today. So, as you read The Lawyer’s Tools of the Trade, give a thought to what your favorite tools are today and whether you may be using an older version that may be comfortable, but might not be the latest version. Perhaps it’s time to update to the current version..