Fiona Hewitt, Law Society lawyers with disabilities division committee member, Neves Solicitors
'I am a single parent so it’s just me and my daughter - 7 “and three quarters!” - and I also have disabilities. As an employment lawyer, I have been busier than ever.
Working from home is something which I am used to and enjoy, having previously worked from home all the time a few years ago and regularly prior to Covid-19. However, since lockdown, working from home has felt rather different, perhaps because it isn’t a choice or perhaps because there are so many additional worries – health, elderly parents, money… and it’s hard to have any down time – even if it’s just singing loudly to 90’s music whilst driving between school and the office!
It’s interesting that this more flexible way of working has been what those with childcare responsibilities or disabilities have often asked for and now it’s the new ‘normal’. I have found that it’s important to be honest and open about what will be achievable and what will not, both in terms of work and schooling from home.
Also, don’t judge yourself by what you think others are doing. We may all have dreamed of learning a language or taking up macramé but if it isn’t do-able then that’s fine.'
Karl Brown, Law Society social mobility ambassador, Clarke Wilmott
'Being able to adapt has been a key theme during the lockdown. My firm, Clarke Willmott, have been very supportive not just with ensuring staff have the necessary IT to work remotely but also in ensuring regular contact with staff and issuing guidance on wellbeing during this period.
We have also come up with new ways of providing information and advice to our clients - creating a Covid-19 FAQs page and an online legal hub of tools which allows clients to explore how their legal affairs can be in the best possible order, without the need to come to one of our offices.
Despite the physical distance, lockdown has reinforced the importance of the team. I have regular conference calls with my house-builder team colleagues during which we not only discuss current transactions, but most importantly check that we feel well and positive.
Overall, I have found that empathy has been most important in lockdown. For our colleagues, clients, and our counterparts on deals, it now feels natural to check that they are safe and well and to have that reciprocated.'
Lucy Lewis, Law Society women lawyers division member, Lewis Silkin
'Like every working mum, I’m a planner. So when I saw the lockdown coming, I started to plan. I made sure everyone had a desk, I managed to fix an old laptop for my 10 and 11-year-old boys, I printed a timetable and we talked encouragingly about how we would work alongside each other. My husband – who is also a lawyer – works for the Welsh Rugby Union and so we planned how we’d divide our time between work and home-schooling.
But only a few days into the lockdown it was agreed that the principality stadium would become a hospital and the Chancellor made his furlough announcement. Overnight our jobs became overwhelming and the plans disappeared. It’s hard - harder than we could have imagined.
The boys need us more than ever, but so do our clients and colleagues. Our family have become another part of our team - they all look to us for leadership, encouragement and direction. But in our efforts to support others, it’s easy to forget to look after ourselves. There are times when I feel like crying but those times are outweighed by the times we have laughed. I remind myself that this will pass and we will be stronger for it.'
Jane Hinde, Law Society Art Group member
In memory of life drawing classes
'This is a quick sketch using charcoal and crayon undertaken in a life drawing class. It reminds me of all the classes we are missing right now during the lockdown and the get-togethers of the artists in the Law Society Art Group - hoping we all get back together for 2021!'
'Another charcoal and crayon sketch from a series of quick sketches whilst at a class. Although it was drawn in about five minutes it is one of my favourites as it shows how drawing utilises the unconscious as it plays out in mark-making.'