This piece is the second part of a two-part series, offering friendly pieces of advice to help us as an industry move forward. Inevitably, it will not be helpful to everyone. But hopefully it can offer some perspective to friends and colleagues alike.
Believe it or not, I have a Magic 8 Ball on my desk at home. You’d be surprised how useful a tool it can be when pondering the questions of the universe:
“Should I buy this stock?… My sources say no! (I wonder what sources?)”
“Should I make this tube of cinnamon rolls in my fridge?… Better not tell you now! (this one resulted in an upset stomach!)”
“Will Boston Rob come back from the Edge of Extinction and win this season of Survivor?… It is certain! (you heard it here first folks!)”
But as a legal professional, business owner and above all else a citizen of the world, I find myself asking the same dire questions that are consuming us all at the moment. These are questions that unfortunately we don’t have responses. Whether we get our information from the evening news, the Cuomo brothers on CNN or Facebook posts, no source is definitive. All we know is that we don’t know much.
When will the Covid crisis end? Will I be alright financially? What happens next?
Part of the dilemma as legal practitioners and professionals is that we feel powerless in light of the current global crisis. Whereas we normally have the tools and wherewithal to support ourselves, our clients and our families with advice, guidance and overall leadership, we are now left feeling vulnerable and exposed.
It’s the normal way to feel, especially given that our most pertinent questions remain unanswered. But asking questions to which there currently are no answers is an exercise in futility. We as legal professionals are being reactive against forces that we cannot fight against, invariably hoping to break through and find solutions that may not exist right now. That’s a tough battle to win.
But here’s a different question. I hope every lawyer and legal professional in the world takes this to heart and truly embraces the message at some point:
“If my practice survives and another pandemic hits, will I be in a better position than I am now?”
Will you have the tools, techniques, protocol and processes to undertake another major work disruption? If you have to work from home again after going back to work for a few months, will the transition be seamless or another headache? Are your support staff, junior lawyers, administrators and paraprofessionals fully equipped, both technologically and psychologically, to power through another work disruption?
Now is not only the time to try and survive, but also the time to prepare. Now is the time to control what we can control. Take stock of what you need now and what you will need in the future. If you need to learn more about available technology, start researching. If you need new processes, start mapping. If you need new insight, start reading. If you can’t find a better way to do things, start leading.
The Covid pandemic has shaken our very foundation. But we will survive. Learn from this, so the next time we can fight back against whatever comes our way.
We got this!