The COVID-19 pandemic uprooted our traditional work habits and routines. But it didn't stall professional or business development. Associates learned to adapt to new technology, and find creative ways to communicate, solve problems, and serve our clients. As the delta variant is beginning to sure, new hotspots may arise. Here are some ways you can adapt and strengthen your practice if you have to work remotely:
1. Optimize your technology and workspace. Although it sounds obvious, having a comfortable and functional home office is fundamental to being effective at work. Having a good workspace goes beyond a laptop and an internet connection. Try to recreate your office setup as much as possible: Create a separate, dedicated space for work; use a good office chair (and avoid your dining-room table chair); dock your computer and use an external monitor (or two) and a mouse; make sure that you can print and scan; and eliminate unnecessary distractions. Consider investing in additional tools, such as a headset for hands-free calls, Zoom meetings, and oral arguments. You may also want a webcam to have higher-quality video, or to be able to attend Zoom meetings without undocking your computer. And if you’re participating in virtual court hearings, arguments, or depositions, find a place with a solid, non-distracting background, good lighting, and a strong wireless signal. Setting this up early will make you more efficient and prevent last-minute scrambling—when you find out you have an argument or a big pitch in a few days, the last thing you want to worry about is your space and technology. And because some quantum of remote work is here to stay, making this upfront investment will help you stay productive even after the pandemic.
2. Prepare for changes in how legal services are delivered. Many recent shifts in legal practice will likely also outlast the pandemic—virtual depositions are one example. Attorneys, clients, and courts may shift towards virtual depositions because they can often be just as effective as live depositions, not to mention cheaper and more efficient. Remote pitches are another example—clients are discovering that it’s much easier to gather multiple members of their legal team for a pitch that is done virtually. Take the time to understand these changing practices now: Learn the technological nuts and bolts of a virtual deposition, as well as strategies and best practices, and perfect the slide deck that will be used in pitches. Even if you do not think you’ll be taking a virtual deposition or participating in a remote pitch during the pandemic, you’ll almost certainly be doing one after.
3. Err on the side of over-communication. Make sure that you’re visible even when you’re not in the office. Communicate with your team regularly to know what’s expected of you and to keep others apprised of what you’re working on. When in doubt, err on the side of over-communicating—send an email, or even better, call your colleague. Talking over the phone will help you stay connected to your team, and it can help answer a question or generate a spontaneous idea beyond the initial subject matter of your conversation. Don’t be afraid of overdoing it. Even if you’re working with autonomy, simply keeping your team informed of what you’re doing or what you’ve done will solidify your place at your firm.
4. Take ownership. Although it’s important to take ownership of your work in any environment, it is even more critical during remote times to reinforce to your team that you don’t need to be micromanaged while you’re not in the office. Take a big-picture view of your case: Anticipate deadlines and tasks that your supervisors may not have considered or communicated to you. If you see a problem, raise it with your supervisor and offer solutions to show that you’ve already thought through the issues. Consider how to advance the larger case at hand and achieve the best result for the client, and not just how to handle one particular task.
5. Take advantage of this time for business development. Use this time to hone your business development strategy. Stay connected with your colleagues, former classmates, and other professional contacts. Identify issues that clients are facing and consider ways that you can help them. Stay visible in the broader legal community by writing articles, organizing and presenting CLEs, participating in conferences and panel discussions, staying active in bar associations or other groups, or simply sending a quick greeting to catch up with someone. People want to stay in touch with others during this time and will particularly appreciate your reaching out or checking in.
Lisa Bohl represents clients at the trial and appellate levels in both state and federal courts. Her practice covers a broad array of subject matters, including business litigation, financial and securities cases, intellectual property, and criminal matters. Ms. Bohl’s trial experience includes delivering opening statements, conducting direct and cross examinations, and arguing trial motions. As part of her pro bono practice, she also represents plaintiffs in civil rights matters. Prior to joining MoloLamken, Ms. Bohl served as a law clerk to the Honorable Edmond E. Chang of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. She also worked as an associate at Jones Day. During law school, Ms. Bohl was a member of the Veterans Legal Services Clinic, where she represented veterans in matters involving military sexual assault, benefits, and improper service discharges. She is a graduate of Yale Law School, where she served as Editor of the Yale Law & Policy Review. Before attending law school, Ms. Bohl worked at Achievement First, a charter school network, and Morningstar, an investment research company.
Gerald Meyer’s practice focuses on complex business litigation, white collar criminal matters and investigations, and appellate litigation. He has represented businesses, senior corporate officials, and individuals in a broad array of subject matters, including securities litigation, class actions, antitrust law, and constitutional law. He has tried cases to verdict and drafted and argued dispositive, discovery, and evidentiary motions in trial courts across the country. He has argued appeals before the Seventh Circuit, and has briefed appeals in the Supreme Court of the United States and numerous courts of appeals. Before joining MoloLamken, Mr. Meyer was an associate with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP in Chicago. He has represented companies and individuals in a wide range of tax planning matters, including mergers and acquisitions, restructurings, securities offerings, and issues involving tax-exempt organizations. Mr. Meyer also served as a law clerk to Judge Robert R. Beezer of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and to Judge G. Steven Agee of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. He is a summa cum laude graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review.
This is a sponsored blog post by MoloLamkenLLP. To view the firm's full profile, click here.
With several weeks of the “new normal” under our belts, we checked in with practicing attorneys to see how they have adjusted to working from home and what advice they have for law students who will be working remotely this summer. Read on to see what they had to say.
You’ve been creative for as long as you can remember, from drawing pictures on the walls with your crayons, to tirelessly studying all your theory and applying it flawlessly to your dissertation. You’ve mastered the Adobe Suite, honed your skills, and expanded your thinking beyond what you thought possible.
Whether you’re a student, a recent graduate who just entered the workforce, or a grizzled, forty-plus hour a week veteran, you’ve undoubtedly encountered a few of the more unsavory personality traits that colleagues and coworkers sometimes have to offer. Let’s take a closer look at some of these traits, along with some tips for dealing with them.