Midnight drafting and research: Top 5 things to do and not to do

February 7, 2012

Are you awake at midnight, drafting, researching, envying the summer weather in Australia?

Autonomy is a benefit of working in a small, independent law firm.  You control your costs, your client choice, and your schedule.  You’re also a small business owner or employee, and I know when my small calligraphy business gets busy, midnight can be a familiar hour.  I like to think that the change into a new day invigorates ideas.

When pressure is high, here are a few tips to keep your spirits high.  Let’s start with a few activities to avoid!

Top 5 things not to do after midnight:

5. Yell “fire!”

4. Overeat

3. Think about the national debt

2. Wait for the phone to ring

1. Ask for the morning off

Top 5 things to do to make your midnight workload less stressful:

5. If you live up north, look for the Aurora Borealis.  If not for cloud cover here in Minnesota, I would have seen the “Northern lights” last week when an unusually large mass of solar particles struck our atmosphere.  Generally, the aurora borealis occurs near local midnight. They fade and reappear, so position your work station with a window view.  Check the Auroral Map from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center  to see where the lights are visible.

4. If you live on a southern coast, beach camping & bonfires may just be legal.  Take your research and drafting to a more relaxing location.  If you want a complete Web disconnect, download research to your Kindle or bring the WestlawNext iPad app for perusing offline.

3. Be the first to snatch up a midnight online release.  Be it pre-sale movie tickets or an album by your favorite artist, take a break to reward yourself with timely entertainment.

2. Reach out to a Reference Attorney, by email or by calling 1-800- REF-ATTY (733-2889).  West Reference Attorneys are available 24/7—and not just with your WestlawNext research.  A team of specialists also helps you use software like West Case Notebook and Westlaw Drafting Assistant.

1. Be proud that you have a good reason to be awake.  Take a moment to acknowledge that your work with a solo or small law firm provides both social justice and economic small business stability.  Both are good reasons to grit through a late night once in a while.


Photo: U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joshua Strang