I have been speaking to a range of lawyers over the past two months ranging from junior all the way up to senior lawyers and when I mean talking, I mean on video calls. Interestingly, it has meant that as a result, they have been more candid, more personable, and shown a lot of empathy. All with me trying to peek behind them at their furnishings and decor!
Why is this surprising though? Lawyers are humans after all and are of course in the same situation everyone else being locked away in unchartered territory. They often get the reputation of hiding behind the suit and being too corporate. However, the current pandemic has given them an opportunity to prove this theory wrong once and for all.
I read a recent article in the Lawyer that breaks down how lawyers have changed the way they work in 5 distinct areas.
Being yourself at work- Being at home automatically means a more relaxed approach to work with the ability to share more things about your personal life with colleagues and clients. Getting a window into colleagues and clients lives similarly drives relationships closer and makes us more authentic and accessible. Research shows that being yourself at work can make you three times more successful.
Prioritising communication- The competitive nature of professional services and the fast pace of work can often lead to lawyers being seen as less caring. Lockdown has however meant that there has been more sharing of how people are feeling and the human connection has grown stronger. Communication skills and emotional intelligence levels have had to increase as well.
Better, more honest, relationships- The current situation has meant that within law firms, there has had to be a rethink in terms of trust and flexibility to incorporate things like child care and varying situations around firms for employees. Diversity and inclusion can only prosper in the long term as a result of this mindset change amongst some law firms.
Redefining our values- Sometimes law firms are chosen on salary and prestige but the strange times that we are living in have meant a reassessment for many. As a result, personal values and beliefs combined with a clearer idea of what makes people happy are now being looked for in employers.
A sense of community- Lockdown has created a sense of community spirit with kindness at the forefront. The legal workplace has changed for the better and hopefully for the long term.
At Passle we are seeing our law firm clients using our platform to deliver intelligent advice to clients but combined with empathy, humour and personality. Long may it last as both sides seem to be benefiting.
Lawyers are often seen as ‘the suits’, people without emotion or feeling, just there to get the job done whatever it takes, but coronavirus has given us the opportunity to see each other and ourselves in a different light, and realise what really matters to us.