After yesterday's blizzard of posts on cases and broader docket-related issues (sometimes when I start thinking, I don't stop) I decided I'd follow with a somewhat less substantive post.
No, seriously. If visiting 7,500 Texas lawyers' offices this spring while campaigning for State Bar president taught me anything, it's that you can make a definite impression on visitors to your office by paying attention to the little things. Like coat hooks.
Most visitors to a law office will have coats, and, this being Texas, will often want to take them off while in your office. At which point they'll start looking around for a hook. And you won't have one. Oh, sure, there might be a coat rack someplace, but it's never where they need it. You know where you can put your coat, but they don't. Most offices just don't think about hanging storage for visitors once you get past the receptionist. So if it's winter and you have an overcoat (which covers about five days of the year down here) you're set there, but most of the time you don't remove a coat until you're in an office or meeting space - and there is invariably nothing there.
On the coat hook front, the high point of my office visits was when I went to a new office - may have been Haynes & Boone's Dallas offices - and each office had an unobtrusive coat hook (not shown in the attached photo for some reason) on the wall next to the door for a coat, eliminating the need for a coat rack. (It was probably made of recycled something or other - that office is big on being green, and it's always pleasure to visit. Until you need to find the restroom, at which point you need Tom Hanks from The Da Vinci Code to figure out which arcane symbols and hidden doors they're behind. I've found it's usually easier to just listen for flushing sounds.)
On the other hand, the low point was that the hotel I usually stayed at in Dallas did not have coat hooks anywhere on the acres of marble in the lobby men's room where I typically changed out of my suit for the drive home. (The photo is an exemplar from the Internet - I was not photographing men's hotel room stalls for future weblog posts). So on a sometimes daily basis I had to either balance suit jackets, trousers, belt, tie, briefcase and who knows what else on my suitcase while simultaneously extracting a pair of khakis and comfortable shoes, or carefully study the condition of the floor before reluctantly laying a nice suit on it.
As a result, one of the first things I did when I got back to my office in April was to put up (actually, to have Grayson put up) coat hooks on practically every surface that would take a screw, with an eye towards where I see visiting lawyers needing a place to hang something. We selected the triple-swing hooks shown above in a finish that matches the Hub's other hardware after my experiences in the hotel lobby mens' rooms trying to hang six things on one cheap piece of chrome. You can never have too many hooks.
Here are the places I'd suggest:
- Every restroom door
- No, seriously. Put one on the back of every stall. No exceptions. This matters.
- Office doors
- Walls or trim in conference or meeting areas (if no coat rack is available). Get creative. It's a conversation starter.
It's a small thing to add, but for a visitor, it's an unexpected luxury to be able to hang a coat up instead of just wrapping it around the back of a chair. And if your visitors are like mine and often do change out of a suit after a hearing before starting the drive back to Dallas, it's nice to make the process as convenient as possible.