What is the most important tool for a litigation attorney in Kitsap County? I submit it’s an item that costs less than five dollars.

As tech savvy as I pretend to be, a simple pen is by far my most important tool. When I’m meeting with a client, taking a deposition, interviewing a witness, or in a courtroom, the last thing I should have to worry about is whether my pen is going to die on me. (Although I can type much faster than I can write, furiously typing on a notebook computer doesn’t exactly communicate to a client or a jury that I’m listening.) There is no margin for error. When I’m writing down a judge’s oral ruling from the bench, imagine how it would look if I sheepishly asked the judge to stop talking so I can find another pen.

So what makes a good pen for a trial lawyer? First, it has to be completely reliable. The ink must flow consistently until the pen is completely empty. Second, it has to be smooth.  In other words, friction is a huge factor. When I’m writing fast, it’s important that the pen glide across the page.  High friction pens slow me down, and that is not acceptable when I am trying to catch every meaningful word said by a client, witness or judge. Third, the ink cannot smear. In high pressure situations, my hands can get sweaty. Wet ink and sweat are not a good combination.

Perhaps eight years ago, when I was working at a small law firm in Silverdale, a meek, unassuming pen made its way into our office supply cabinet. This pen was perfect. If I was the boss, I would have purchased a whole pallet. But when we needed more pens, I was chagrined to learn that the manufacturer had “upgraded” the pen to a new design. Yes, the new pens looked sleeker, but they were unreliable.

Since then I’ve been looking for a replacement. I’ve tried everything, from the more expensive Parker style pens, to the new gel ink pens. Nothing measured up.

And then a few weeks ago, when I was looking on Amazon for some pens for home use, I happened to stumble upon my long lost perfect pen, and it was still for sale! I immediately bought two boxes, one in blue ink and the other in black. And yes, they are exactly like I remember. (If you’re curious what they are, you can find them here and here. And no, I didn’t get paid to say this.)

Now if only this Kitsap County litigation lawyer can find that perfect legal pad…