Paper Planners for the Young Lawyer

1L, 2L, 3L, Lawyering, Pre-Lawyer

This post was updated on January 2, 2016 to include current links and a little more info for each of the products. I still highly recommend all of these planners!

Paper Planners, Calendar

As a 20-something “young lawyer” who owns an iPhone, an iPod, a macbook and uses Clio timekeeping at the office, you would think I keep all calendars synced to the nearest electronic device.  I do not.  Every other year I seem to have a New Years Resolution to make better use of the electronic calendaring methods I have at my fingertips.  This year, I’m letting go of any tech-savvy pretense and sticking to the paper planner.

Believe it or not there are still a variety of options for those of us who feel better with a piece of paper and a pen in hands.  After conducting months (seriously) of research, I figured I would try to save some of you time, and share my discoveries with other lawyers who find themselves planner-less in mid December.  Below are five planners I seriously considered until I bought one yesterday.

1. Cavallini Daily Planner – $35

The Cavallini Planners leave a page per day, separated by hours.  This is great when a lot of your commitments have set start and end times. They are leatherbound, which is a sturdy choice for a planner if you carry it with you day-to-day.  The downside of Cavallini is that there is not a lot of room for miscellaneous notes on a given day.

User Tip: If you’re into customization, you can get your name embossed on the cover for an additional $15.

2. Erin Condren Life Planner – $50

The Life Planner was my choice for 2012 and 2015. It was handy for schedule meetings, depositions, appointments and hearings. The break-down of Morning, Afternoon, Evening was nice to pencil in things like social events or appointments that did not have a set ending date. The picture above is my actual planner.

User Tip: If you look closely you can see that not only did the Life Planner successfully keep me from ever double booking myself, it survived a coffee spill the week after I got it, yet held together for another 13 months.

3. The Whitney English Day Designer – $55

The market niche for the Day Designer may be more appealing to lawyers in this economy than the years prior.  The Day Designer is meant for the entrepreneur running a business on his or her own, or as a second job for additional income.  “The Day Designer™ features eight different worksheets, each designed to start with a broad focus and help you narrow down your purpose and passions into key areas for you to then apply to a daily executable plan.” The Planner includes a monthly overview and daily planning sheet for appointments, goals and even your meal plan for the day.

2016 update: Whitney English is an incredible designer. When I first wrote this post she had her own etsy shop. She now runs her own shop and you can even find her planner in your local Target. The planner I’m currently using is the Day Designer from Target and I LOVE it.

User Tip: Each day includes an inspirational quote to start you off on a positive foot.

4. 2013 Weekly Desk Planner by Gallery Leather – $19.95

Clearly, I was having 2013 commitment issues when I began my hunt for a planner. On a whim, and out of calendaring necessity, I walked into the nearest Barnes & Noble and forced myself to pick one and go home. That’s when I found this planner by Gallery Leather. They have several choices, but I went with purple. This particular version is not sold online, but they have a variety of sizes, colors and non-leather options in store.

User Tip: The back of the planner has several lined pages for notes if you find yourself out without a legal pad, a detailed world map of all counties and the time zones.

5. Filofax 

The one pictured is Maiden, which sells for $101.00.

Filofax is an internationally trusted brand for planners. They have inserts for a variety of layouts. They also sell address books that fit inside the planner. Most, if not all, carrying cases have room to hold business cards and other necessities. With enough time on your hands, you can design the perfect planner for your needs right on the Filofax website.

User Tip: If you are still a law student and trying to save money they have a couple versions for under $30. If you need more than the basics, and are looking for a planner with a genuine alligator exterior and calf leather interior, they have a steal of a deal at $2,300. I would recommend not testing the coffee-spill survival rate for that one.

2016 Added Suggestion:

6. Sugar Paper $10-$20

Sugar paper is sold at Target and it’s gorgeous. I just added this wall calendar to my office and I can’t get over how pretty it is. I also have a weekly to do list notepad in the same colors.


Hopefully you find the best calendaring option for you to keep track of your business and personal life in 2016!

Previous Story
Next Story

1 Comment

  • Reply
    January 2, 2013 at 3:47 am

    don’t know how you get away with using a hardcopy planner still–lucky girl! since the firm runs on outlook meeting invitations, i’ve given in and run my personal calendar through outlook too. it wouldn’t be my first choice, but the convenience of having all of my appointments in one place (and automatically synchronized on my BB) trumps personal preference.

  • Leave a Reply

    CommentLuv badge