The legal industry has been surprisingly adaptable amid the COVID-19 crisis, with the majority of firms and legal departments transitioning smoothly to a remote work model. In fact, those who embraced telecommuting out of necessity soon found that it offered distinct advantages for both employers and employees, especially in terms of lowering costs and improving efficiency.
However, there is a hidden cost that comes with these positive changes. Despite the freedom and flexibility that remote work offers more experienced attorneys, it poses significant challenges for first- and second-year associates who are still cutting their teeth. It’s always been an uphill battle for junior associates to secure the time and attention of busy senior associates and partners for the purposes of training and mentoring, but office shutdowns have made it even more of a challenge, slowly eroding the collaborative work environment that has historically been integral to associates’ professional growth and development. Even if they’re not working from home, many new associates are finding themselves part of a barebones office staff, with less access to immediate support and guidance.