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Back view of female employee speak talk on video call with diverse multiracial colleagues on online briefing, woman worker have Webcam group conference with coworkers on modern laptop at home Photo: by Shutterstock Back view of a female employee on a video call with colleagues. Photo: by Shutterstock

It has been over six months since most of the region shut down due to COVID-19.  For many of us, the middle of March of 2020 is a period that is etched in our memories because that is when many law firms transitioned to a total work from home arrangement. Anecdotally, we know that many colleagues have had great experiences, while others have struggled to try to adjust to this transition. We believe it is the right time to look back at the past few months to understand what we learned, what we need to do right going forward, and how the pandemic may alter the legal profession in the future.

The impact of shutting down physical offices had an immediate and prolific effect on our lives. One of the most obvious changes was adjusting to a commute-free workday. For some of us, this likely meant gaining a large chunk of our day back. But some of us experienced the somewhat unexpected effect of working longer hours in the time previously occupied by commuting. For those of us without homeschooling demands or other shifting responsibilities during the pandemic, having more time to bill was a rare positive glimmer in this otherwise dark and trying time. However, having more time to bill is only useful if the workloads remained the same. Unfortunately, many of us have had difficult conversations with clients or co-workers about projects being slowed down, budgets being tightened or matters being outright canceled. Work may begin to pick up as we all better understand the impact of the pandemic and clients feel more comfortable taking on new projects, but the impact on billable hours will undoubtedly lead to tough decisions at the end of the year. In addition to juggling many roles during our time at home, we have also had to endure many frustrating technology issues and quickly adapt to an entire new set of etiquette parameters that govern video conferences. While many of us became accustomed to using remote platforms such as Zoom, regular use has revealed glaring technological limitations.

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