Nearly a year ago, March 17, 2020 to be exact, I started my remote working experience as a paralegal. The COVID-19 pandemic has not been easy for any of us. It has disrupted and affected our lives in profound ways. Nevertheless, we paralegals are still standing.
Paralegals by nature are a strong bunch. We deal with attorneys, the Court, and the everyday ennui of the paralegal life. It is an endless cycle, but we have demonstrated resiliency and mettle as we go forth into this new normal. Paralegals will continue to be a force and we will continue to do our very best.
There have been some positives and negatives with this remote working experience.
- Everyday Casual Clothing. Are we enjoying the comfortable pants and sweatshirt while proofing a brief? Yes, we are.
- No Commute. No more jostling and bustling onto BART or MUNI in rush hour – just roll out of bed and we are at the office.
- Lunch Time. The lunch hour becomes a completed list of chores well worth an achievement certificate.
- Remote Proceedings. Whether it is a deposition, a courtroom hearing, or an MCLE webinar, using Zoom or other audio-video conference systems are for the better in the legal profession, and it’s about time!
- Missing the Legal Team. Every day, it seems, one can read new studies about the harmful effects of isolation due to the pandemic. For many of us, our fellow paralegals, attorneys, and support staff are like family, and we are missing personal interactions with our legal teams.
- Teamwork Loss. Some of the best brainstorming occurs when we see one another at the office. Despite the implementation of weekly firm communications, there has been a noticeable decline in teamwork productivity.
- My Work/My Home. Work life now bleeds into home life. We wake up and we are technically already at the office. I think we can all agree that we cannot wait to use our built-up paid time off to get far, far, far away from the “office.”
- Internet Connection & Supplies Kit. Some of us continue to experience Internet bandwidth issues, and our usual set of office supplies is limited. These things are manageable, but bothersome, and can put a damper on productivity.
- The Courts. The Courts are a train wreck. Court operations have been ridiculously slow causing a back log of cases that ultimately effects a firm’s workflow.
- Ineptitude in Technology. Attached as Exhibit A is a true and correct copy of the cat attorney in Texas. Need I say more?
This is not easy for any of us. There will be continuous interruptions. However, we will get through this. We will prevail. The best we can do is work together and support one another, even if it is remotely.
About the Author:
Michael Schiraldi is a paralegal at The Brandi Law Firm. The current editor of RECAP and an adjunct instructor at San Francisco State University, he resides in San Francisco.