Blog Series: Lawyering in the Time of Coronavirus with Meredith Mays Espino

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 are, “Lawyering in the Time of Coronavirus,” with this series.

The next in the series features Meredith Mays Espino,the Chair of the Cyber Law and Data Privacy Committee and member of the @theBar Blog’s Steering Committee. She practices data privacy law as in-house counsel at Accuity. 

Her blog answers are below: 

Q: Are you working remotely?  If yes, what’s your set up?

A: I am working at home for the duration. I’m in house counsel so my work location was pretty flexible, even before the viruspocalypse. My husband and I each have an office at home but, because I used my office to study for the bar, I still get flashbacks when I go in there. I’m working on exorcising it by using it as a meditation room/gym. In the meantime, I work in my husband’s office. I have a big comfy chair and one of those desks with wheels that they have at the hospital for patients. I needed a second screen so we hooked up the little tv that we used while on the rowing machine to my laptop.  I also have a side table that I use for beverages, snacks, tissues, etc. Headphones for conference calls are crucial.

Q: What’s the biggest challenge you are facing as a result of the changes to your normal day-to-day operations?

A: Sharing an office with the spouse can be challenging because we have very different musical tastes. He’s heavy metal all day and my musical tastes vary with my mood and the tasks I need to complete. Agreeing on music choice sometimes requires negotiations in the morning but we’re both pretty easy-going people, so it rarely gets contentious. As the lawyer, I tend to win.

Q: What are you doing to stay sane while social distancing?

A: Who said I was sane to begin with? Who have you been talking to? It’s all lies, I tell you. Lies.

To distract myself from humanity’s impending doom, I work on my needle felting art. I make 2d “paintings” using a very sharp, barbed needle to stab the wool, causing the fibers to lock together. Yes, I stab for fun. There are also a ton of free webcast meditation sessions from all over the world due to the pandemic. I take advantage of as many of them as I can. I also talk on the phone to friends and have the occasional video chat.

Duplicity in Perception
Pictured above is one of Meredith’s art pieces, “Duplicity in Perception.”

Q: If you have a useful tip/hack/resource you can suggest to other lawyers, please share it.

A: Don’t work in the same room as the TV and don’t think that you can have CNN or your news source of choice on as background noise. Because we are in crisis mode, our attention is going to be drawn to the constant stream of ever-changing news as the pandemic escalates. There is nothing we need to know right this second that can’t wait until we are done for the day. If there is, someone will let us know.

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