Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 16

FEATURE

PICS, PELOTON & PUPPIES

STAYING CONNECTED DURING THE PANDEMIC

O

ne enormous downside of working from
home has been the loss of community, but
during the pandemic law firms devised
creative ways for employees to stay connected.
EXERCISE CLASSES. While Faegre Drinker has offered weekly yoga
classes in the D.C. office for years, during the pandemic it launched
Zoom video yoga for all U.S. employees, says Maureen Hardwick,
co-leader of the firm's D.C. office. "I even got my 13-year-old daughter
to do it," Hardwick says. McDermott Will & Emery set up Peloton
competitions, with employees logging how much time they biked
and how fast they went, says managing partner Lisa Richman.
ON-DEMAND MEDITATION. McDermott also had virtual guided meditations available to its staff, but now employees meditate from home,
Richman says.
SOCIAL MEDIA. Hogan Lovells has its own Instagram group so
employees can post pictures from around the globe, says regional
managing partner Eve Howard. The firm's human resources staff
recently shared photos of their remote working locations. "You get

differently, says Burger. "The firm was about to announce its formal
policies to get every employee a laptop to work increasingly from home
when the coronavirus hit.
While working to expedite laptop orders, the firm provided staff with
desktop computers to take home. Next, it created a tech support station
similar to Apple's Genius Bar to provide quick tutorials on how to set
up work computers at home. Then employees brought the computers,
covered in bubble wrap and blankets, to staffers' cars, creating a moveout-day-at-the-dorm vibe.

HOME SWEET WORK FROM HOME?
Once the technology was in place, law firms had to deal with both the
advantages and disadvantages of work-from-home culture.
On the positive side are the efficiencies. "We've all worked at Big Law
firms," says FisherBroyles' DoVale. "There was always somebody who
would make his rounds, pop his head into your office, and talk to you for
an hour and a half."
And, of course, working from home means no commute. There's little
need to worry about wardrobes, and many people say they enjoy
expanded time with family members and pets.
On the downside, those in-home efficiencies can mean there are no
limits to the workday. During the first couple of weeks of remote work,

16

WASHINGTON LAWYER

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JULY/AUGUST 2020

to learn a lot about people that you would never have known,
seeing their pets and their kids," she says. Squire Patton Boggs had
a photo competition of home office spaces, says Michael Kelly. And
since "lawyers like to win," the winner got a $50 gift card.
VIRTUAL MEETS. Almost every firm has some version of virtual coffee
breaks, lunches, and happy hours, with ongoing conversations about
where to score toilet paper or how to keep a three-year-old busy
when you're writing a brief, says Richman. Some firms formed online
groups for venting, chatting, or telling a joke a day.
STORY TIME. Faegre Drinker started story time for children twice a
week at midday. Employees, whether they have little children at
home or not, take turns reading books. "It's just been so much fun
to see our colleagues with families and sometimes grandkids, nieces,
and nephews - whoever they're sheltering with," says Jane Koehl,
chief operating officer. "We hope it gives our colleagues a break and
a chance to introduce their family to the firm. There has been a lot of
waving going on." Story time is the firm's way of acknowledging the
struggles of parents who have to balance childcare and work.
Hardwick says the experience has turned out to be as much fun for
the adults as for the children. "I think it's just fun to have that
moment of being read aloud to."	

Dan Harris of Harris Bricken realized he was exhausted by the end of the
day. "You're just working literally every second," he says. "You're not
going to the lunchroom and chatting for five minutes; you're not going
out for a sandwich."
Connected to that is the feeling of isolation. But Farrer of the Remote
Work Association notes that even when people sit close to one another
in an office, they can still feel lonely. "The problem is not proximity; the
problem is connection," she says. "Now we're being forced to change the
channels."
Lawyers are problem-solvers, and this pandemic has forced many of
them to rethink how they work, what matters, and what doesn't. "I think
a lot of people are saying, 'we were able to survive and actually be productive at a pretty reasonable level, so why not continue letting us do
this?'" says Adams Lee, a Seattle-based partner with Harris Bricken.
Robert Case Liotta, a family law attorney in Washington, D.C., says that
the pandemic has changed a few things. "I go to my office, and nobody
is there except the guard at the front desk," he says. "I make some phone
calls, shuffle through the mail, take home some files, and leave." But now,
"I'm thinking, maybe I don't need an office."
Debra Bruno is a freelance writer for the Washington Post, Washingtonian
magazine, and a number of other publications.



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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