Covid-19 has radically transformed the landscape. What was once a minor problem in a single Chinese city has turned into a global pandemic. Millions of people have been affected by this infection directly. Nearly everyone else has suffered in other ways. For those practicing law, Covid-19 has radically changed how many lawyers do business.
In the immediate aftermath, law students in search of internships have seen many such spots disappear. In many cases, young lawyers as well as those seeking to enter the profession have found the legal field at this time one in which many procedures have been rethought. For many, it has necessary to move much of their work to an online environment. While moving many practices online can offer a chance to avoid infection and keep everyone safe, it is important to keep in mind that such practices can be complicated and confusing, especially for those entirely new to the profession. This is why it is imperative for law students and young lawyers to stick to certain guidelines. Doing so will ensure that all lawyers adhere to the highest possible professional legal and ethical standards.
Etiquette Is Imperative
Working at home or in another type of environment, may seem to invite an air of informality. All lawyers, particularly those just starting out, should remember they are conducting important business for their clients. Adhering to high standards even when at home is crucial. This means a lawyer should dress as they would in any other legal environment. Men and women should keep to a dress code. It possible, the lawyer should have a home office that is free from distractions and looks professional when seen online. All lawyers should be aware of issues such as outside noise that might interfere with their ability to carry out their professional duties. Speak clearly so that everyone can hear you. If one location isn’t working, move to another that is more appropriate for the practice of law.
Keeping to a Schedule
In the middle of a pandemic, it may be tempting to let go of standard working hours. Lawyers should be aware that such hours provide structure and allow them to keep to a useful work life balance. All lawyers should ideally stick to their standard 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. schedule. Doing so allows them to provide clients with access to their services at a set time frame. All lawyers should make sure to take breaks as needed. A thirty minute lunch break, even when taken from home, enables the lawyer to return to their work refreshed and ready for the work in front of them again.
Lawyers are paid by the billable hour. All lawyers should be able to document how they are spending their time when they are on the clock at home. Bear in mind supervisors can see what the lawyer is doing for clients even when they are not in a standard office setting.
It’s a good idea to remember that this is a very novel working environment. Everyone is feeling their way around it as the process continues. For lawyers, as it for other professionals, the process of working at home for the majority of the day is very much being determined as it goes along. Consider making time for a meeting each week. A consultation with other members of the legal profession can clear up issues and help ensure that everyone is on the same page.
All lawyers should have a list of concerns to bring with them to any meeting. As the week goes on, note what is working and what might need tweaking. Other, more experienced members of the legal profession, can offer the kind of guidance that makes any legal practice much easier even in the middle of a pandemic.
While the pandemic has created many disruptions, young lawyers can still find many ways to demonstrate their commitment to the profession. Now is the time to offer to write the firm’s blog and take a leading role in updating the firm’s website. Getting involved directly is a great way to show initiative. This is an ideal time to explore a new field of law and show others how you can master it. It’s also a chance for younger members of the profession to demonstrate how they have mastered technology. Doing so offers a way to stand out find that key to legal success.