On March 23, 2020, I launched what I thought would be a three or four-week project. A daily podcast, called In Seclusion, asking legal professionals how they were dealing with the changes resulting from working from home during a pandemic. My fifteen to twenty-episodes ballooned into 60+ episodes. Lawyers, law librarians, law students, law professors, courthouse personnel, marketing, and many more legal professionals shared their stories with us. We’ve heard how they’ve adapted, what were the good and bad things about working from home, and what permanent changes were going to happen in the legal industry. It’s been a lot of fun, and very informative for me discussing these issues with so many people. There are a lot more stories to be gathered, but, to paraphrase Jerry Seinfeld, “you should always leave ’em wanting more.”
June 28th will be the last episode. And if I counted correctly, that means there will be 68 episodes total. (I took Good Friday and Memorial Day off.)
With the slow reopening of offices, plus the added issues of unemployment, and of course the biggest issue we always seem to face, racism, I wanted to get back to the longer form format of The Geek in Review. Plus, I have a day job.
So enjoy the last ten episodes that are coming out between now and June 28th. If you have a suggestion on who would be a good guest or what would be a good topic. Let me know.
In the meantime, here are last week’s episodes from a diverse group of people, sharing diverse ideas on how we need to treat ourselves and others as we go forward.
Celeste Smith, the Director of Education for the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), works on finding educational opportunities for those of us who consider ourselves life-long learners. While we are in an industry of very intelligent people, the current situation has taught us that we can not be tied to what we think we know based on our own history and experiences. She notes that just as we did when our physical workspaces closed, we do not have the luxury of taking our time to craft long-term strategies before we need to take action. We have to learn and do all at the same time.
For Cornell H. Winston, Law Librarian at United States Attorney’s Office in Southern California, there have been a number of small and large changes affecting his law library and records departments. While he is generally an optimist, he knows that change will happen. People who were never allowed to work from home will not accept that limitation any longer. Workers who once made hours-long commutes to and from work haven’t missed a beat while working from home. They will not be coming back to work the way they did pre-COVID. And while Cornell may have not experienced a global pandemic before, he is familiar with economic and racial unrest. But as he says, when you see it, you learn how to ride it.
Alycia Sutor, Managing Director at GrowthPlay, coaches lawyers, law firms, and other legal organizations on the need to get out of their comfort zones, and quickly embrace the changes as a new way of being. Those are just not skills that many in the legal industry are used to using. But those who find ways of quickly deploying these skills will be the ones who recover the fastest. For your colleagues who are struggling right now, especially with the issues of racial discrimination, she notes that it is important for you to acknowledge what is going on, be present, and be silent and listen.
Mike Whelan, author of “Lawyer Forward: Finding Your Place in the Future of Law” is a lawyer, author, legal innovator, and recently an Above the Law podcast host. As we begin to make our way back to our respective office or identify our more permanent workplaces, will we go back to the old habits and schedules, or will we take what we’ve learned over the past few months and apply it to create a new model of working going forward?
Casandra Laskowski Technology & Research Services Librarian at Duke Law School has the responsibility of assisting law school students, staff, and faculty through some of the teaching and technology challenges of a remote classroom. In addition, she also chairs the Diversity and Inclusion Committee of the American Association of Law Libraries. With the murder of George Floyd and the civil unrest to protest Police brutality and systemic racism, Cas says that people need the space to step back, access their personal situation, and to have time to think, speak, and hopefully heal.