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MANAGING STAFF

Post-pandemic period a chance to try flexible staffing strategies

By Lynne Curry bio Question: COVID-19 hit our northern U.S. law practice hard. We cut employees, then salaries, and then we cut again. We lost half of our clients as their fortunes failed; other clients cut their work to the bone. Our revenue is down 70%. Some office staffers left our state when their spouses’ high-paying jobs evaporated. Others took off when COVID-19 combined with our cold, dark winter proved too much. Because these employees had talents we needed, we kept them as “snowbirds”. At first, it didn’t cause trouble. Everyone was working from home, so it didn’t matter where “home” was. Now that we’ve moved back into the office building, our local employees complain about the snowbirds. They feel the fair weather staff get an unfairly sweet deal, as… . . . read more

SURVEY SAYS

Tech, talent search and space reduction drive law firm changes

Change is a fact of life for law firms today, and leadership is fully aware—three in four survey respondents noted their firm’s partners are receptive to change. This need for change centers around two central premises: the need to improve real estate efficiency to stay lean and cost-competitive, and the need to evolve to attract talent and accommodate new ways of working. Despite these initiatives, the majority of respondents to a recent survey by Gensler Research Institute reported that their firm continues to lease more space than is necessary. Larger firms are more likely to have excess space on their books. Recently designed firms are less likely to have excess space, confirming the focus on space reduction in recent years—though even among those whose offices have been redesigned recently, one in… . . . read more

TECHNOLOGY

Zoom court appearance prep: Check for cat filters

Now that a lawyer has appeared as a kitten in a Zoom court hearing, we can add another item to the list of Zoom hearing best practices: Check the webcam for filters before joining the meeting. Last week an attorney accidentally joined a video conference of a civil forfeiture court hearing while using a webcam filter that made him look like a confused white kitten. “I’m here live. I’m not a cat,” Presidio County Attorney Rod Ponton told Judge Roy Ferguson. “I can see that,” replied Ferguson, whose district covers five counties in West Texas, including the town of Marfa from which Ponton was calling. The short video clip, which was shared online by Ferguson, ends with others coaching the attorney on how to remove the cat filter. The judge… . . . read more

TECHNOLOGY

What problems does AI bring to the legal sector?

By Brittainy Boessel Artificial intelligence (AI) technology is steadily gaining traction in the legal sector, and some practitioners worry about the changes it’s bringing. Many legal professionals fear AI may infringe on their job security by significantly cutting the available jobs. A number of legal professionals raise ethical and legal concerns underlying the use of AI in their work. Still others wonder whether future attorneys will possess the skills needed to take advantage of this technology. This article will discuss a few of the valid concerns regarding the use of legal AI technology and explain why the benefits of AI outweigh the risks. Will AI make lawyers obsolete? When technology performs better than humans at certain tasks, job losses seem inevitable. But the effect may not be as dire as… . . . read more

New year, new city? Professionals and employees reveal relocation plans amid pandemic

Relocation is a big consideration for both professionals and their employers right now. A recent study by a global staffing firm shows 44 per cent of workers surveyed said they would consider moving to a different city if their company offered long-term remote arrangements, and another three per cent have already made a move. 44 per cent of professionals would consider relocating, but only 16 per cent would be willing to take a pay cut to do so Nearly three in 10 companies are allowing workers to make a permanent move A separate poll of human resources (HR) managers suggests many companies are open to the idea of an anywhere workforce: 49 per cent of respondents reported their organization has allowed current staff to relocate temporarily, and another 27 per… . . . read more

PRODUCTIVITY

Technical issues and too many participants are biggest virtual meeting pet peeves

Have you had about enough of video meetings? If so, you’re not alone. A new study by global staffing firm Robert Half shows video calls may be wearing on workers. Almost three-quarters of professionals surveyed (72 per cent) said they participate in virtual meetings. Those respondents reported spending about a quarter of their workday (24 per cent) on camera with business contacts or colleagues. In addition: 44 per cent said they’ve experienced video call fatigue since the start of the pandemic. 59 per cent said video calls can be helpful but are not always necessary. 22 per cent noted that the practicality and novelty of video conferencing has worn off over the past eight months. 15 per cent confirmed they find virtual meetings inefficient and exhausting and prefer to communicate via… . . . read more

TRAINING

Now is the time to train for technology

By Doug Striker bio I think it’s safe to say that the legal industry is not the most “agile” profession in the marketplace. The law actually breeds the opposite of agility. We tend to reward slow processes, long research endeavors, decisions-by-committee, slow turning of the ship to accommodate changes. So, it is no surprise that the rapid changes demanded by the COVID outbreak have rattled law firms to their cores. To put it more bluntly, I’ll quote a couple of people I recently heard speak at an ILTA Roundtable discussion regarding the legal industry’s use of tech tools to get work done “during these difficult and challenging times:” “I have a lot of self-represented litigants on my [virtual] docket and many of them are more comfortable with technology than the… . . . read more

YOUR CAREER

Preparation is the key to a good ZOOM interview

By Lynne Curry bio Question: After unsuccessfully responding to job listings on LinkedIn and Indeed.com for five weeks, I finally received a request to interview. When I asked, “Where do I meet you?” I learned I’d be interviewed via Zoom. I’ve had bad experiences with Zoom. For some reason, they have my name misspelled; I’ve tried but haven’t been able to fix this. I can’t even get into my Zoom account; my password’s at my former office and Zoom insists on sending the password reset to my former, extinct email. And I find it distracting looking at my face when I’m speaking. My brother-in-law promises to help me fix the name thing, but I’m even more panicked about the interview itself. I need this job and need to know how… . . . read more

CYBERSECURITY

Employees worse than hackers for putting firms at risk

By Jay Stromberg bio A recent study shows that cybersecurity breaches aren’t caused by issues with your firm’s hardware or software; it’s your people. But, come on, I’ve been saying this for years. Still, it’s nice to have (yet another) study to prove my point. In this case, SolarWinds reported that human error is by far the leading case of security breaches. I mean, seriously, humans are WAY outpacing the machines and other tools in terms of mistakes. HelpNetSecurity.com reported on the study, saying: “Internal user mistakes created the largest percentage of cybersecurity incidents over the past twelve months (80%), followed by exposures caused by poor network system or application security (36%), and external threat actors infiltrating the organization’s network or systems (31%).” Put another way, unwitting employees are actually doing… . . . read more

TRAINING

How to implement remote learning in your law office

By Doug Striker bio I keep hearing from my IT and trainer friends at law firms, who tell me that their attorneys are really digging this work-from-home change. Of course, this shift also demands that attorneys work more independently, which is pushing their (often lax) tech skills to the limits. Enter remote training and learning Remote training gives your law firm the power to train each and every employee regardless of location, be it in one of your worldwide offices or in their home office. What is remote learning?  Remote learning, also referred to as distance learning, gives learners, who aren’t in a physical location for in-person education, access to online training materials. It’s become a go-to training method for law firms, as it enables them to train every employee… . . . read more


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