I had a catch-up Zoom call with my team today. It is strange to think that before March 2020, I had never heard of, let alone used Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Webex, GoToMeeting or any of the plethora of video conferencing platforms that seem to have sprung up out of nowhere.
Now, these video conferencing apps are a staple part of daily life. Whilst that can feel overwhelming at times, they are generally perceived as beneficial. They have revolutionised conference calls and cut through some of the confusion when discussing complex or esoteric points. Now you can share your screen and discuss a document or presentation to convey your message more clearly. At the beginning of lockdown, everyone had their cameras on and were keen to show that they were hard at work. As lockdown dragged on, more and more people switched off their cameras. They probably joined meetings as I have on occasion, still in their pyjamas or my favourite hybrid, a smart polo top and scruffy jogging bottoms. Who said lawyers don’t know how to dress?
I digress. Back to the call, I had this morning with my team. We spoke about current workloads and team management issues. We discussed some of the challenges faced by the juniors in our team. It cannot be easy for them during the COVID pandemic, our team is working remotely across a couple of countries and different time zones. With the best will in the world is it not always possible to give the same level of supervision. At present, we tend to work in smaller teams, so when new work comes in we need to get all hands-on deck.
Often the best way to learn on the job is to observe and learn from the people around you. Back when we all had cellular offices (rather than the dreaded open-plan set-up) a junior lawyer could learn a lot from the partner or senior lawyer with whom they shared an office. They could hear how they took calls, problem solved and dealt with clients. When we started our careers, we learnt a lot from studying senior lawyers around us. Although I was a bit of an exception to the rule, as the partner I sat with spent more time on the golf course and in the pub than he did in the office. #Legend.