The Street Smart Law Blog

Writing 2
  • Alan Golik

3 Ways the Pandemic Opened Up Legal Eyes

One virus shifted the entire world from business to business and industry to industry. While every one of us were affected, the range of disruption to our lives varied by many factors like one’s career, management decisions, and compatibility to remote work. Now, one strenuous year later, we are beginning to see a new normalcy and a foreseeable adaptation to the pandemic’s impact. The legal industry has especially become a keen witness in revelations during this time, in that hard-working individuals saw surprising possibilities and opportunities regarding how they can perform their work. So, how did the pandemic influence the legal profession?

The End of Traffic

Before COVID-19 ravaged the world, all of us had our own mental schedule regarding our day-to-day activities. A lot of us have had to commute some way to work outside our home, depending on what town or city you live in. Whether it took you 30 minutes or 2+ hours to get to work and back, we all have dedicated time set apart in our day for work travels. Yet in our commutes we may also face unexpected traffic, accidents, or vehicular issues that always come at the worst possible time. Take all of that and add in the fact that many attorneys face these dilemmas, as well as still have to deal with business while on the drive. Attorneys regularly will take calls while sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic, writing briefs on their laptops and producing billable hours. Then, the pandemic halted everything. Everyone stayed at home and had to make do with work from their living room. Legal professionals who’ve previously had to come into an office environment were suddenly able to save large amounts of money through a drastic cut in gasoline and/or commute purchases. Their usual allotted time for getting to and from work had been stripped away, and instead, their daily commute became getting out of bed and walking up to their office desk. While one to two hours may not seem like much, daily commuting can wear any person out. Our energies coming into work can diminish after long rides, and motivation to finish work once one comes home has already plummeted. When we all get home we’d much rather sit down, relax, and leave our job thoughts for the next morning. With the pandemic, lawyers began realizing how much more refreshed, focused, stimulated, and attentive they are when they don’t have to face traffic in their already draining day.

Working from Home is Doable

When everyone was required to work from home, people began finding out for themselves whether working remotely was for them, or not. For some, the pandemic switched gears on their lifestyle for the better. For some, their performance worsened. And for the in-between they more or less retained the same quality of work. Whichever group you self-evaluate yourself into, it’s completely okay because it was a black swan moment. None of us had ever had to drastically alter our way of life in such a manner before the pandemic hit. While we all faced some sort of adversity, eventually things began to take a turn. And it all lead to the augmented awareness of remote work. Now, attorneys are allowed to improve and fine-tune their quality of work by custom selecting an environment that comforts them, rather than being constrained to be in an atmosphere with sometimes strung-out co-workers and superiors. Many attorneys actively face pressure, loud surroundings, and constant disruption, which can be detrimental to their job conduct. Instead, being given the option to work from one’s own choice of setting can help optimize their productivity when they’re not bombarded by commotion. If one does enjoy the office culture, then by all means, whatever aids in their ideal work habitat. At least today it is perceptible to all that many people’s jobs can be done from home if provided the right measures, especially for attorneys.

The Power of Zoom

One year ago, Zoom had become so popular seemingly overnight that the software crashed, many times. They needed substantially more capital to increase bandwidth from its explosion of users worldwide. What was once a great-value Skype had become the household name app for video conferencing. For the telecommuting lawyer that had less accessibility to clients and colleagues, time constraints were suddenly eliminated. One could set up and provide a link to a meeting and then conduct business as usual, from the safety and solace of their home, with all parties accessible from their location as well. The removal of scheduling appointments in-person and still being able to communicate proceedings shockingly took the world by storm. While it may not have become the ultimate problem solver for all clients, wherein some still demand in-person meetings at a skyscraping office, the new norm of convening at a casual setting has appreciably become more accepted. Who knew you could do an assignment with a colleague at a Starbucks just as well as in a private room with a horizon of buildings? In my opinion, video conferencing in the pandemic was the ‘push’ that the legal industry needed to observe. It showed that legal professionals CAN do some of the work they do in person, over two or more computer screens. Litigation work, client-attorney discussions, document reviewing, and even examinations began being performed with satisfactory outcomes. Zoom had finally awakened a dormant capability face to face to many professions going into the future.