We’re a year into the pandemic now.
It’s been a time of stress and challenges, and they are not over. The chaos has been medical, financial, cultural, spiritual, educational. Members of some worker groups and ethnic/racial groups have been hit particularly hard.
California’s workers and the workers’ comp community are still responding to the challenge, and many of the effects will linger. How the future “normal” compares with the old “normal’ is still unclear. Perhaps it’s not fair, but some workers and workplaces have the luxury of being more adaptable to new ways of doing business.
I’d like to share a firm-wide e-mail our managing partner at Boxer & Gerson, Justin Litvack, sent to our lawyers and staff today. Justin’s comments speak to both the challenges of running an applicant-side law firm during the pandemic and to strategies for resilience that have been required:
“A year ago I didn’t sleep. You can see that by the time stamp on the below e-mail. Please take a second to read the below e-mail I sent to the lawyers and realize where we were a year ago today and how far we have come. To say I was worried would be a grave underestimate.
A year ago today we weren’t flexible. We needed an office. We needed courtrooms. We needed phones. We needed to meet with clients. We needed dictation. We needed to meet with staff.
A year ago today I had just sent the legal assistants home. We initially told legal assistants to stop working. Then we went to 4 hours and then we went to 8 hours. We did all of that in an hour and we weren’t even sure the firm would be able to generate any income to pay people.
We told secretaries to stop working. We had no plan. No secretary had ever worked from home.
I closed the door on the attorneys and asked them to stay home. We had no idea what would happen with hearings, depositions, etc….
We hoped we’d find clerks to come to the office. We didn’t know if we’d have mail. We had only just started to scan mail and certainly we had not done so for the entire office. We thought the police may show up and shut us down if we had people in the office.
We didn’t even know what to do with the calendar. We shut it down not knowing what would happen.
I am not trying to give everyone PTSD this morning. Instead, I want to say thank you. I want you all to pat yourself on the back. A year later, we’ve become flexible. You all have helped make working from home a reality. Attorneys have figured out how to remain productive without face-to-face meetings with clients. Lawyers are now handing trials over video platforms. We have new staffing models. We have new partners. We have new leaders. We have a new brand. We will soon have new hires. We have new technology. New duties, new ways of thinking, new responsibilities….
This is all because of you. Thank you for helping keep this firm moving forward. I don’t know what the next year will bring, but I am more confident than ever that we have a group that will not only help us survive but will help us flourish. I am forever indebted to each and every one of you. Thank you.”
Justin’s words will ring true for many.
Most readers have their own stories of how they or their organizations coped with the pandemic challenges. Whatever the particular challenges and coping strategies you have found, you’re not alone.
Boxer & Gerson LLP