If you’re practicing law from your living room, managing a project (and a family) from your couch, or just wondering what you can do to protect yourself and your teams against the current health and economic crises—well, you’re not alone.
Last week, Logikcull hosted a virtual roundtable discussion on practicing law in a time of unprecedented crisis, addressing these questions and many more. Thank you to the over 500+ legal professionals who signed up and to our amazing participants, Jennifer Williams, Director of Practice Support at Vinson & Elkins, Will Delgado, Founding Partner at Delgado Tarango O’Neill LLP, and Aaron Crockett, eDiscovery Attorney at Harrang, Long, Gary, Rudnick PC.
Thanks to their insights, and those of our attendees, we were able to discuss everything from keeping your teams sane and focused during stressful times, to the logistics of mediation over Zoom.
If you want a full writeup of the event, Law360 covered the webinar here. For a slightly shorter takeaway, here are some points that stood out to me:
Business continuity plans work, but they need to be flexible.
All of our panelists had business continuity plans in place and were able to implement those quickly and without much, if any, disruption. If your firm has already embraced the cloud and accommodates remote work, much of what you need to handle the current situation you already have. (The Microsoft Office suite, Zoom, Teams, and virtual desktops were all commonly used tools. I'd also add Slack for instant communication and G Suite for document collaboration as two tools we love here.)
What wasn't expected was for these contingency plans to be implemented everywhere, at all offices simultaneously, and potentially for a very long time. Which brings us to point two.
Managing people is more important now than ever.
They say times of crisis bring people together, and I definitely think we're seeing that today--and not just with the 100s of folks who turned out for the webinar. Jenn, Aaron, and Will all emphasized the importance of keeping on top of your teams, ensuring them that things will be alright and generally doing your best to help pick up the mood and relieve anxiety.
Jenn mentioned donning crowns and tiaras during video meetings to brighten the day and Will makes a special effort to have an organic, non-work-focused call with at least one team member a day. At Logikcull, we've even given all employees free access to the Calm app as they shelter in place. (It's great. Check it out.)
You've also got to set boundaries.
As work life and home life become one, it's very important to remind people that they don't need to work 24/7--particularly when, if you're like Aaron, you're the go-to person for tech help. That could mean breaking up your day to teach your kids or telling your team to turn on their out of office reminders when they're off the clock.
Adapting takes time.
Whether it's developing a remote culture or figuring out how to make video conferencing work for a mediation, you'll get there bit by bit.