Properties: Michelle Browning Coughlin of El Toro

Even for lawyers who have largely returned to the office, remote work items remain a part of their tech stack.

Here we visit Michelle Browning Coughlin, managing director and vice president of legal affairs at ad technology company El Toro, who discusses her remote and onsite setups.

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

Want to share how you’ve adjusted? Click here to participate.

Describe the decoration of your office in one sentence.

Casual and warm, welcoming, with exposed brickwork, hanging ivy, pretty lights and fun artwork. (My favorite is a framed quote that says, “Relax. We’re all crazy. This isn’t a competition.”)

What office equipment do you use to carry out your daily work

Laptop, wireless mouse, iPad with Apple pencil, cell phone, office chair, desk… Basic stuff! One really important thing for me – an ergonomic keyboard. I type so much that I started to experience carpal tunnel symptoms, but the ergonomic keyboard made a huge difference. Recently I have started using Apple Pencil and love it for taking notes in meetings and commenting on contracts. I also have to have my wireless mouse – I hate the built-in tracker pad on laptops.

What key pieces of office furniture do you use?

Obviously, a comfy and comfy office chair is important, but I spend a lot of time walking around the office and in meetings, so comfortable shoes are just as important!

What work the adjacent equipment helps?

Not exactly adjacent work, but having duplicate home and office work setups is very helpful. My other gear adjacent to important work is a selection of fun or inspirational coffee mugs – my latest one is an RBG mug.

Fashion essentials in videoconferencing?

I’ll admit that one of my favorite “fashion” must-haves is the “Touch Up My Look” feature in Zoom. Otherwise my essentials are just good lighting and proper camera angles. What you wear is less important than the proper placement and lighting of the camera.

I’ve definitely added some really cool new pairs of earrings to my wardrobe, since these are the jewelry that are actually on view during a video conference.

What are your biggest risks of a meeting bomb?

It used to be my husband walking behind me cleaning something… But now that I’m back at the office for the most part, he’s one of my coworker’s adorable dogs (our office allows people to ‘bring their dogs to work – so cool.)

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

I spend time logging into Facebook to interact with my MothersEsquire community. I love reading Above the Law and Law360.

Granted, I’m not really the ‘fresh air’ type, as all the breaks in my day tend to be consumed by child-related chores, but I recently started using Centered, an app that integrates small pieces of meditation and stretching in your workday.

What are your favorite physical books in your context (or near)

Books focusing on gender equality and strong women leaders (I love “Unfinished Business” by Anne Marie Slaughter and “That’s What She Said” by Joanne Lipman), books on intellectual property, “The Infinite Game From Simon Sinek and the children’s book I wrote titled “My Mum, the Lawyer”.

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