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October 6, 2016

Attorney Dana Hrelic talks Surface, the law and fashion

When I was at the American Bar Association conference in August, attorney Dana Hrelic came up to me and immediately exclaimed “I love my Surface. It’s how I survive.”

Thrilled, I immediately asked to learn more.

Surface fan attorney Dana Hrelic

Dana is a 3rd year partner at a boutique appellate firm, Horton Shields and Knox, in Hartford, Connecticut. For Dana, Surface is less of a computer and more of an appendage. “It’s my 100% machine. When I travel, I just unplug it and throw it in my bag.” Dana is on a plane about every two weeks so she loves having her Surface Pro 4 so she can work on the way to a meeting, and then catch up on TV on the way back. “Both my Office software and iTunes work seamlessly across my iPhone and Surface so it’s super easy to always be in touch.”

Dana’s fandom runs deep. When she and her husband (who is also an attorney) started dating, she bought him one as a present. “I often joke that that’s why he married me!”  Now that they are married, they’ve gotten so used to having a touchscreen that they bought a touch-enabled external monitor for their home office. “Once you get used to having touch, it’s impossible to go back.”

A couple of her fellow partners also have gotten a Surface based on Dana’s praise, so I asked her for her top 5 reasons why an attorney should use Surface. This is what she said:

Set up your remote office anywhere

My Surface makes traveling for work easy and convenient.  I can set up a remote office anywhere – my hotel room, the airport, the back of a taxi, or even the park (so I can see a little bit of where I’m visiting but get some work done as well).  Use the Pen to sign documents remotely so you never need to worry about missing a filing deadline because you’re away from the office. Make certain folders on your internal server or network available offline, so you can easily pull them up and work on them wherever you are. They will sync back to your server automatically when you return to the office. Couldn’t be easier!

Use your Surface like a legal pad

I frequently use my Surface as a notebook during client meetings, where taking notes by hand has always been more natural for me and makes having a real conversation with my client much easier.  Erasing is really intuitive—you just flip the pen over to erase like a pencil.  Plus Surface is roughly the same dimensions as a legal pad (3:2), which maximizes your vertical space for reading and writing. And you can change OneNote’s background to yellow and add ruled lines.

Multi-monitor desk setup

One of my law partners has two external monitors, keyboard and mouse, plus the Surface itself all connected with Surface Dock.  He is able to keep e-mail on one screen, his research tools on another screen, and use the third screen for Word and Excel.  It really makes staying organized and on the ball very simple to do.

Expandable storage

A lot of people don’t know that Surface Pro has a microSD slot underneath the kickstand for expandable storage. This means you can add an extra 128GB for less than $40; there are lots of different sizes and speeds available.  My husband has 2 extra microSD cards, where he stores all of his TV shows and movies for when we travel.  I like to use mine as extra storage for large documents and exhibits in my appeals.  Both ways, the expandable storage is a big reason why we love the Surface.

Stay stylish at work, at home, and on-the-go

Unlike other word processors I’ve had, the Surface is thin and sleek and makes staying stylish pretty easy.  The machine itself is very light and fits into any travel bag and briefcase that I’ve ever owned.  (And I own a lot … I have a thing for bags!)  The screen is a high resolution display, which is perfect for pictures and movies.  I set my favorite wedding photographs as my screen saver, and they scroll through whenever my computer goes idle.  As a newlywed, it’s so much fun to revisit our wedding day each time through this feature.  For traveling, I purchased a Kate Spade Sleeve, which carries my Surface, the keyboard, and the power cord all at once.  I have received more compliments on this Sleeve than I can count!

Surface fan attorney Dana Hrelic