As lawyers, we are constantly on the run, flying to depositions, driving to hearings, running off to meet witnesses.  Emergencies come up and we don’t always have time to plan.  To avoid being caught flat-footed during your next emergency, keep the following 10 items in your briefcase:

1)    Contact information.  Keep a list of the names, numbers (including cell phone numbers) and e-mail addresses of persons you may need to contact, including your paralegal, legal assistant, opposing counsel, court reporter and related personnel.  You never know when your blackberry or laptop may become less than reliable.

2)    Power cords.  Keep an extra power cord for your phone, and possibly your laptop and an extra phone line cable.

3)    Spare change.  A roll of quarters may come in handy for meter parking or vending machines.

4)    Protein bars.  You will be caught in traffic, or be stuck late in a deposition and you will behungry.

5)    A good book.  A novel or a book on leadership is good to keep handy for any dead time.  If you have a Kindle, keep it in your briefcase.

6)    Office supplies.  Keep extra legal pads, pens, post its, paper clips, etc.  You always want to be prepared.

7)    Business Cards.  To hand out to witnesses, opposing counsel and court reporters.

8)    GPS.  Don’t rely on the one car rental companies offer.  Keep yours in your suitcase and pull it out whenever you travel.

9)    Extra Work.  Keep some research that needs to be read and analyzed or a motion that needs to be edited in case you miss that flight.

10)  Reference Tools.  Consider keeping a copy of your state’s civil procedure rules and evidence code.  Or perhaps your state or county has local rules when it comes to professionalism and how to conduct oneself when it comes to discovery.  These may come in handy to pull out and cite during a deposition or hearing.

By following these suggestions, you can turn your briefcase into your biggest ally.