With 2020 in the rearview mirror and 2021 on the horizon, it is time to do the yearly assessment. The year 2020 brought about challenges none of us could have predicted. We were forced to be flexible and innovative. My personal world changed substantially as I welcomed my first child in the middle of a pandemic. The legal practice also went through a rapid transformation. It is easy to focus on all the hardships and negatives. But there are also some positive developments from the pandemic:
- The 9 to 5 workday: Law firms had to quickly adjust to having many, if not all, their employees working remotely. With kids at home, some attorneys have to juggle their daily work with virtual learning and child care. Partners were forced to be flexible with their employees’ working hours. Most importantly, we have learned to give others grace with their individual situations as long as work is accomplished.
- Court appearances: Many times driving to court for a quick court appearance is a pain. Or you feel guilty having to bill a client for travel and time in court when you were on the record for less than five minutes. This is no longer a problem. You also do not have to scramble to different courtrooms on motion call day. All you need to do is click a different Zoom link. Attorneys have been able to be more productive with their time but now must also try to manage decreased billables.
- Staff meetings: Many of us have said, “This meeting could have been an email.” Well, we are now able to test this theory as a lot of our conversations are through email. We are learning to be efficient in our communication.
I have learned a lot from 2020. I have had the opportunity to work remotely and see my daughter grow. At times, everything was daunting and overwhelming. But this year has allowed us to pause, reassess, and evaluate what makes sense in our workplaces, for our clients, and in our personal lives.