first week “back”

I am completing my first week “back” in the office. It was an intense, stressful week in which I (i) represented an international client in a significant mediation; (ii) conducted my first ever Zoom platform mediation; and (iii) took three days of deposition with multiple lawyers by Zoom.

My stress came from four sources:

  • Pandemic related stress
  • Technology related stress
  • Economy related stress
  • Case/professional related stress

The latter comes with the territory. It is hard to be a trial lawyer and not experience case driven stress. All the other stresses are unique to the times.

My takeaways at this point in the “back to work” process are the following:

First, I can control to a great extent my risk of exposure to the virus by keeping my daily routine simple and consistent – home to car; car to office; office to car; car to home. Such a routine will not increase my risk of exposure to any material degree. However, I am finding it difficult to have such a limited “life” and miss my “normal” busy life and in particular real personal interaction with family, friends, colleagues and clients.

Second, the technology is much more simple, reliable and effective than I had expected. In fact, over time it will change the way lawyers and courts conduct all kinds of proceedings which until now have all been in person activities. As a result, I do not expect to have to travel for the foreseeable future. While it will hurt my accumulation of frequent flier points it will allow me to avoid the higher risk of virus exposure present in air travel.

Third, I remain concerned about the economy in general and the negative impact of the pandemic on the law business. I hope that as more business “return” to the marketplace economic activity, transactions etc. will pick up. This hope is tempered by a growing concern that the United States will soon experience a second wave (or perhaps better described as the resurgence of the first wave that never concluded) because of a general laxity in maintaining social distancing practices.

Fourth, there will be times when the confluence of these stresses will be difficult to bear…..but there is no other choice but to believe that better times are ahead of us.

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