Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 13

FEATURE

ESQUIRE @ HOME

WHEN LAW FIRMS GO REMOTE
By Debra Bruno

I

n the beginning, asking an office full of high-achieving lawyers
to work from home required a bit of ingenuity. That's why Robert
Burger, chief operating officer of Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox,
P.L.L.C., told firm employees they couldn't get into the office if
they wanted to because their key cards wouldn't work.
It wasn't true, Burger says. "But there are so many people who like to
come in, I had to [tell] them, 'We really want you to be at home.'"
Although lawyers and staff thought their key cards would be deactivated, the building's landlord informed Burger that it would be impossible to completely restrict access.
The small deceit was only part of the story. Sterne Kessler was one of the
early adopters of remote work during the coronavirus pandemic, beginning in early March with restrictions on employees' travel and initial
preparations to move the firm's operations online.
By the end of March, most law firms in the Washington, D.C., area were
doing the same, fully adhering to the social-distancing rules, even though
legal practice is considered an "essential service" by the government.
Of course, the sudden rush to operate remotely took most D.C. law firms
by surprise. Not unexpectedly, though, firms have handled the transition
with dexterity, practicality, and even a sense of humor. Yes, there have
been obstacles, but many firms, regardless of size, have found creative
ways to maintain a sense of community.

Michael B. Ray/Sterne Kessler

Attorneys have long been adept at working anywhere and everywhere:
in the office, at home, on the train, on a plane. They handle calls as they
walk their dogs, put together dinner, and run errands. What was more
complicated was the pivot to get the rest of the staff - paralegals,
secretaries, accountants, administrators, and marketing team members
- set up to work from home. It meant making sure that everyone was
equipped with either a laptop or desktop computer, Wi-Fi, and software
to connect securely to the firm's system.
Andy Eschbach, patent clerk at Sterne, Kessler,
Goldstein & Fox, helps deliver equipment during the
firm's transition to remote work.

Getty Images/imaginima

JULY/AUGUST 2020

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WASHINGTON LAWYER

13



Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020

Digital Extras
Your Voice
From Our President
Election Coverage
Practice Management
Calendar of Events
When Law Firms Go Remote feature
Disaster Preparedness for Lawyers feature
Staying Afloat feature
Privacy Rights During a Pandemic Feature
Hamilton's Enduring Legacy feature
Annual Report
Taking the Stand
The Learning Curve
On Further Review
Member Spotlight -
Worth Reading
Attorney Briefs
Disciplinary Summaries
Women's Suffrage special section
Speaking of Ethics
A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 1
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 2
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 3
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Digital Extras
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Election Coverage
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Calendar of Events
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 10
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 11
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - When Law Firms Go Remote feature
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 13
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 14
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 15
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 16
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 17
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Disaster Preparedness for Lawyers feature
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 19
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 20
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 21
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Staying Afloat feature
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 23
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 24
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 25
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 26
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 27
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Privacy Rights During a Pandemic Feature
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 29
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 30
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 31
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Hamilton's Enduring Legacy feature
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 33
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 34
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 35
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 36
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Annual Report
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 38
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 39
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 40
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 41
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Taking the Stand
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - The Learning Curve
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - On Further Review
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 45
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Member Spotlight -
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 47
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 49
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Women's Suffrage special section
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 53
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Speaking of Ethics
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 55
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Cover4
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