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rlystressed

What’s remote legal work like

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For those who did a summer job at a firm/government or any lawyers here who’ve had to work during the pandemic, what is it like? Were there certain things that required you to go in person or were you able to work from home entirely? If it involved court, did COVID make the work more of a hassle? Just trying to get a general idea of how legal work has transitioned

Edited by rlystressed

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Big law summer 2020. Fully remote--absolutely no need to go into the office. A couple of the students went into the office for 1/2 days in the summer to do something for a file but that was totally discretionary i.e. if you told the firm that you weren't comfortable going in, nobody would hold that against you and they would find another student/lawyer to go into the firm. 

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Legal assistant at a biglaw firm. Sometimes people came in once a week, but there are other lawyers that won't come in at all. It's not mandatory. If you want to send out mail, we have people on-site to arrange that for you. No need to come into the office. Some lawyers have to be in the office (think - real estate, those that are closing deals need to come in). 

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Solicitor here - 

It's a bit of a pain getting certain things done. For example, a lot of my firm's minute books are still only available in print, so getting info for a transaction required asking someone at the office to scan/send it over. 

Arranging the signature of documents isn't all that great either. Many of my clients don't really understand how to use digital signatures, and DocuSign programs aren't ideal for anything that needs to be witnessed. 

Alberta has some off legislation, like the Guarantees Acknowledgement Act, that requires a guarantee certificate to be executed by an individual guarantor. However, the legislation also requires that such certificate be signed in person. So we had to wait for a ministerial order to permit video-conference execution of these certificates. 

The ministerial orders concerning online AGMs are terribly unclear and have since expired so we aren't really sure how to conduct AGMs for certain entities (like Societies) that don't permit online attendance in their bylaws, but also require an in-person resolution to amend the bylaws unless all members of the Society sign a written resolution. 

Many stat decs still need to be commissioned in person as well.

Finally, everything that used to be a quick office visit has either turned into a long phone call or an email. So. Many. Emails. 

All in all, it's very doable, and I expect this profession to shift to a more semi-work-from-home model in the future, but there are still some kinks to work out. 

Edited by setto

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I did a summer internship with a small family law firm.  Enjoyed the work itself but it was just more of me alone in my basement, except instead of Zoom school, I was doing research. No impediments to doing research from home, just less contact with humans even than Zoom school🙁.  Touched base with lawyers couple times a week to report back.  While the work experience was valuable, I probably should have just enjoyed the summer.  Toward the end of the internship I did get to participate in client intake/consultations in person and participated in several settlement conferences over Zoom where we were in the office with our client.  Those experiences were great! So a mixed bag.

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Most things are pretty similar from what I can tell. Being in Court is pretty irritating when technical issues arise but on the flip side it seems less stressful to appear over Zoom than actually being there in person. If you aren't already established in your workplace I can certainly see how the lack of face to face time to develop relationships would be a huge negative.

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In-house counsel here. No expectations that I have to be in the office. In fact, those of us who can WFH have been strongly encouraged to do so. I go in once a week to deal with some paper files/securely shred printed materials and notes but that’s entirely of my own accord. My assistant and a couple of other coworkers are also in the office when I’m there so going in is a a nice way to touch base about our work and actually see people in person. Otherwise, my workday is pretty much spent in comfy lounge clothes and sparkly slippers. 

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