Adapting to the “new normal” and a new law firmPepperells
Starting a new job is always daunting in any ordinary circumstances. However, following the current coronavirus crisis these nerves are bound to be increased as a result of the major disruption that has forced law firms to quickly alter their long-established working methods.
For both the judicial system and law firms, it has been said that there has previously been a struggle between preserving its renowned traditional system with the need for it to modernise with new technological advances. Many firms, including Pepperells, have successfully utilised their IT systems and adapted quickly to remote working. Within only 48 hours Pepperells had successfully supplied everyone within the team the necessary facilities enabling them all to effectively work from home.
However, as a new starter having to start your new role within an empty office or from your kitchen table may not initially be ideal. I am pleased to say that at Pepperells I have not found this to be the case. Due to some of the restrictions being lifted, the office is now back open with plenty of safety measures put in place to protect both its staff and clients. This also means that I am able to work from the office and still receive my 1 to 1 training. However, to avoid overcrowding and to allow for social distancing to take place Pepperells have implemented specific department days. Therefore, each department is allocated one day each week where they are all to attend the office as opposed to working from home, provided they are not exempt for medical reasons. This has allowed for departments to spread out around the office and has given me the opportunity to meet those who work outside of my department.
Through the use of Zoom and Microsoft Teams, weekly department meetings are held in order to discuss any pressing matters and the events of the week. Having access to these facilities have allowed me to meet my colleagues that are still yet to attend the office and also those based within the other offices. It also provides me the opportunity to quickly call those that may be working from home with any questions I may have as opposed to purely communicating by email. Another advantage to remote working it that court hearings can now effectively be carried out remotely. These have found to be less time consuming for all parties but equally as effective, and often favoured by clients. There are still some issues to be address by the courts, such as the use of digital signatures, however, it seems that remote hearings are here to stay and that Coronavirus may have shaped a new structure for the future.
I have found that adapting to the ‘new normal’, is in my view ‘normal’. I believe those who will have more trouble to adapting to the new remote working are those who knew what it was like to work at Pepperells prior to the pandemic. Since starting at Pepperells I have never known anything different so in reality it is no different than adapting to a new way of working that you would experience when moving to another law firm or perhaps starting your first role within a law firm. The use of the IT facilities has allowed for all general duties to still effectively be carried out and have provided for an easy transition into my new role with Pepperells. I am excited to see whether the ‘new normal’ does indeed become the normal method of practice for the modern-day law firms.