March 16, 2020, was a rather surreal day for most people, but for me it also marked an important milestone that would not work out quite the way I expected. That Monday, Chicago was on the brink of a shelter-in-place order. It was also my first day back to the office following maternity leave. Like all parents returning to work, I had mixed feelings of trepidation and excitement. Add to that the question of what life would look like during the coming months of the pandemic, and you have a sense of my state of mind on that strange day.
My return to the office was short-lived. I went into work that morning and returned home that afternoon with my laptop, aka “my office” for the next eight months and counting. But compared to other law firms making this transition, GLG had it “easy.” There was no scramble to retrieve files, have phones forwarded, or gather traditional office products.
Things really do work differently here.
When David approached me in 2019 about joining Goodman Law Group | Chicago, he had a vision. He understood that the legal world was evolving, and he wanted to change with it
— to ultimately practice law in a unique way. I shared David’s desire to approach our work differently and hoped that by joining GLG I could help impact that change. While this vision of a new approach includes altering the landscape for our clients, we knew the process had to begin “in house” with a more nimble and sustainable work process. Since the day the firm opened last April, we have remained “paperless.” Don’t get me wrong — we are attorneys, so paper crops up in our offices now and then. But each file is stored electronically, and we’ve always done our best to avoid creating paper documents that live in a cabinet.
That decision turned out to set the table for our success amid the pandemic. Of course, we still met with many delays in those first few months of working from home, with courts shuttered and cases continued. But while other firms could not get to the files they needed to drive cases forward, we never lost access to critical documents and stayed in close touch with our clients. We understood that while some deadlines would need to be extended due to forces outside our control, we could resume work more quickly and find creative ways to keep cases moving.
At GLG, we practice law to ensure our clients can stay focused on running their businesses. And sitting on the sidelines while other industries seemed to be doing just fine did not feel right. If our clients could transition to a remote world, why couldn’t we? So that is what GLG did. We capitalized on our goal of “doing things differently” and utilized programs like Zoom (along with the rest of the world); Smokeball, a cloud-based program where we keep our files; and Microsoft Teams to keep in touch and bounce ideas off each other just as we would if we were in the office. We strove to be forward-thinkers in a time where the world felt stuck, and it has paid off for our clients as we have continued to move cases toward resolution and keep their businesses moving.
The pandemic created (and continues to create) chaos in our world, and the legal industry has experienced that chaos along with the rest of society. As a litigator, the thought of not being able to walk into a courtroom was very daunting for a time, but finally, months later, court has resumed, albeit remotely, and the justice system is pressing on. Perhaps this disruption was the push all firms needed to embrace technologies that make our work more responsive, efficient, and affordable for clients. As my daughter now approaches her first birthday and I am still working remotely, I am thankful that GLG has led the way and am proud to work for a firm that puts its clients’ needs first.
This article originally appeared on LinkedIn on December 1, 2020.