Amandeep Khasriya, Law Society Women Lawyers Division member, senior associate, Moore Barlow
'This extraordinary time will test us all. Even under normal circumstances working as a lawyer can be very stressful. When we add to that the pressures and restrictions that come with Covid-19, such as isolation and home-schooling, the stress may well be magnified – which could affect our wellbeing and mental health.
Working from home with your children or in isolation is not ideal. There’s no way around that. But there are some positives – I am seeing so much more of my husband and my 3-year-old and my work-life balance has never been better. I don’t miss waking up at 6.30am to start the morning marathon of getting my toddler ready for school, to then begin the daily commute myself.
Working from home has great benefits and is actually a far more positive experience, without the pressures of Covid-19 or caring responsibilities. If we want a sustainable profession, we need to ensure that the positive and wider impact of these changes last, to enable law firms to emerge stronger.
There is no textbook for leaders in dealing with a 21st century global pandemic but we know that kind and compassionate leadership matters in a crisis. Beyond this pandemic, leaders will need to be more strategic and implement the lessons learned. We will need to anticipate the new business models that are likely to emerge and find ways to bring in greater diversity of thought and inclusive leadership to rebuild our profession, so that it is better than before – more progressive, more open, more caring.'
Simon Smith, dispute resolution solicitor, Harper James Solicitors, Sheffield
'I’ve been working from home full time for a year and part time for a year before that. Generally, it’s been business as usual – I’m at my desk with coffee and laptop around 7.30 as before. That said, normally, I only have the dog for company and at the moment, I also have my wife working remotely and my two teenage boys off school which can be a distraction.
I’ve found people on the whole to be quite responsive and good humoured. Without wanting to sound too cliched, there is a feeling that we are all in this together and we’re trying to make the best of it – things might not be ideal but everyone is doing the best they can with the difficult situation faced.
I’ve been fortunate that I’ve not had many cases in court so there’s not been too much of an adverse effect (yet) with the pandemic delays and adjournments and I must admit to being a little concerned as to how that’s going to right itself and over how long. It also remains to be seen how the courts will view business conduct during this period which is variable – I’ve seen a number of creative ways in which businesses have used Covid to justify their actions some of which are genuine and others not so. Time will tell on that one.'
Greg Stewart, managing director, GT Stewart Solicitors & Advocates, London
'My hubris guard was duly adjusted as I ranted at the third ‘scanner’ to mangle the post at our East Dulwich office last week. Having run a paperless multi-office platform that regularly let people work remotely for the past two years, I felt fairly confident we could cope with the new arrangements. However, I was reminded that we still need real world kit to work to keep the virtual one going. Kit aside, I really need to mention those working in crime: stress and emotion are daily fare in police stations and criminal courts but add genuine fear for all our safety and it has taken real courage to keep going.
The virtual platform reforms have been fast forwarded by months. Police station, Magistrates’ Court and Crown Court attendances can be conducted from a quiet room at home, if it can be found. Traffic jams and train delays have been replaced by ‘link anxiety’ and the ‘unmute’ checks. After this we cannot go back to the previous waste of time and resources if a remote link will do just as well, but we will need to evaluate when it will. Oh yes, and I nearly forgot: the restrooms and canteen facilities are immeasurably better.'
Neeta Halai, Law Society Art Group member
Acrylic on deep edge canvass, 40cm x 40cm
'This piece is all about perception. Is it simple and structured or is it complex and confusing? Externally many people can come across as structured and organised but internally their mind is running away creating chaos and confusion...What do you see?'
Hooked on Love
Acrylic on deep edge canvass, 60cm x 60cm
'This piece is from my 'I.See.You' collection. It is called 'Hooked on Love' and is open to many interpretations.'