Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 15

FEATURE
Ready for Reentry?
I
Reimagining the Future of Work
By June S. Phillips
n March 2020, when we were told that staying safe
meant staying home, the dawn of a new work
model was suddenly upon us. With the help of
technology, work continued via Zoom calls and
online conferences, even at law firms where impressive
offices and well-dressed attorneys have traditionally
been part of their image. That culture also
applauds the attorneys who burn the midnight oil
and rack up billable hours.
As the country emerges from the dark days of the pandemic, the legal
community is reexamining its long-held traditions, grappling with what
normalcy will look like. Several area law firms ranging from small to large
are tackling the issue, and the tone of the conversation may surprise
critics of a profession that measures worth in increments of time. Considering
the expectations and wishes of staff, some firms are crafting
new workplace solutions based on the themes of compassion, workplace
mindfulness, and flexibility.
COMPASSIONATE SOLUTIONS
Pre-pandemic, only about 24 percent of employed persons did some or
all of their work at home, according to a 2019 American Time Use Survey
by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Simply put, working remotely was
not supported by employers and mostly frowned upon at law firms.
However, a deadly virus forced firms to pivot.
" We have about 160 lawyers across our eight offices, and prior to the
onset of the pandemic, we did not have a formal work-from-home
policy, as most attorneys worked in the office along with staff, " says
Leander Dolphin, co-managing partner at Shipman & Goodwin LLP.
James Ruggeri, also co-managing partner at the firm, says certain circumstances
permitted remote work in the past. " For example, we have
an attorney who works with our District-based litigation group but lives
in Florida, so we were a little bit ahead of the curve in making use of
video conferencing before COVID to facilitate our practice, " he says.
JAMES RUGGERI
Shipman & Goodwin LLP
" We try to be accommodating - in today's world, you don't always have
to be there in person. Attorneys can be effective and productive and
maintain relationships even if they are miles away, " adds Ruggeri.
Perhaps it was this forward-thinking business ideology that allowed the
full-service law firm to quickly shift operations in the early stage of the
pandemic. " We were proud of how quickly we were able to pivot. We
needed to make the change from being mostly in-person to being
nearly fully remote, and we did it essentially over a little more than a
weekend, " Dolphin says.
To make the adjustment easier, the firm offered reduced work schedules
and heavy technical support. Attorneys also partnered up and created
redundancies. " Very few people were untouched by the crisis. Whether
you had children, elderly parents to take care of, or sick partners, this was
hitting everyone at the same time, " says Dolphin. " There was a lot of
increased pressure, stress, and instability for people who were all figuring
out that they were now essentially living at work. The demands of the
job and our client needs did not change. "
" We needed to be compassionate, and we were. I certainly had a lot
more video calls with colleagues and clients where there was a little
person sitting on someone's lap or wandering [around], " Dolphin adds.
" In today's world,
you don't always have
to be there in person.
Attorneys can be
effective and productive
and maintain relationships
even if they are
miles away. "
JULY/AUGUST 2021
* WASHINGTON LAWYER 15
Shipman & Goodwin LLP

Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021

Digital Extras
Your Voice
From Our President
Election Coverage
Practice Management
Toward Well-Being
A Conversation with Chad Sarchio feature
Ready for Reentry feature
LSC's Ron Flagg feature
Leadership Academy feature
DC Bar Annual Report
DC Bar Budget
Taking the Stand
On Further Review
The Learning Curve
ABA Delegate's Corner
Member Spotlight
Worth Reading
Attorney Briefs
Disciplinary Summaries
Speaking of Ethics
The Pro Bono Effect
A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 1
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 2
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 3
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Digital Extras
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Election Coverage
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Toward Well-Being
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - A Conversation with Chad Sarchio feature
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 11
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 12
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 13
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Ready for Reentry feature
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 15
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 16
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 17
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - LSC's Ron Flagg feature
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 19
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 20
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 21
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Leadership Academy feature
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 23
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 24
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - DC Bar Annual Report
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 26
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 27
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 28
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 29
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 30
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 31
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 32
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 33
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 34
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 35
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 36
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - DC Bar Budget
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Taking the Stand
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 39
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - On Further Review
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - The Learning Curve
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - ABA Delegate's Corner
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 43
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Member Spotlight
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 45
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 47
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 50
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Speaking of Ethics
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 52
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 53
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - The Pro Bono Effect
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 55
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Cover4
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