The coronavirus pandemic has brought about many challenges that workers and professionals must grapple with worldwide. Lawyers are navigating the uncharted territory of practice law while social distancing and are finding creative solutions to do so. The Young Lawyers Section of The Chicago Bar Association will showcase many of its members, and will ask them questions about how they’re, “Lawyering in the Time of Coronavirus,” with this Vlog series.
The next in the series features, YLS Director, Alex Passo. Alex practices in the area of commercial litigation for Latimer LeVay Fyock.
Alex’s Vlog and the written answers to the questions are below:
Q: Are you working remotely? If yes, what’s your set up?
A: Still plugged in. I’ve always had an office away from the office, so the remote aspect I’m rather used to. I have a dual monitor set-up and a commercial printer/scanner. I typically do a lot of research at night and on weekends, so my personal law library is already here.
Q: What’s the biggest challenge you are facing as a result of the changes to your normal day-to-day operations?
A: Fortunate enough to be in a profession where in-person meetings are not a 100% requirement. However, there are aspects of litigation that I strongly prefer to be in the same room with other people. One of those is depositions. I’ve conducted many through video; however, they don’t fit every case. For critical and exhibit heavy depositions, there is really no replacing an in-person examination. Also, continually monitoring various federal and state circuit court orders on extensions and new court dates are time-consuming. I don’t have a volume based litigation practice; but, for those that handle over 50 cases, I can imagine that there is a lot of anxiety ensuring that new dates are now docketed based upon the new orders.
Q: What are you doing to stay sane while social distancing?
A: I try to look at this period as an opportunity to do things that I always said I would do if I had more time at home. Therefore, I try to walk our dog more in the morning (like I used to), go for runs, do nerdy pleasure reading, and have been playing video games a lot more again. Also, with remote working, I can do long smoke barbecues during the weekdays for dinners, which is typically only a weekend possibility.
My wife and I are also expecting our first kid this July, so I have had an opportunity to do some house projects that I probably will never want to do when he is here.
Q: If you have a useful tip, hack, or resource you can suggest to other lawyers, please share it.
A: Create a home office space that is similar to the one at your firm, at least from a functional perspective. Also, start using task management resources like Kanban. Set daily and weekly goals for items that should be accomplished. While we may not be in the office, this is an excellent opportunity to push things that are written. My overall goal is to get most of my written discovery done in my cases to the point where I’m ready for depositions when we can do them in person.