An endless flow of information is coming at us constantly: It might be an article a friend shared on Facebook with a sensational headline or wrong information about the spread of the coronavirus. All this information may leave many of us feeling as though we have no energy to engage. As a philosopher who studies knowledge-sharing practices, Mark Satta calls this experience “epistemic exhaustion.” The term “epistemic” comes from the Greek word episteme, often translated as “knowledge.” So epistemic exhaustion is more of a knowledge-related exhaustion. It is not knowledge itself that tires out many of us. Rather, it is the process of trying to gain or share knowledge under challenging circumstances. Currently, there are at least three common sources that, from Satta’s perspective, are leading to such exhaustion. But there are also ways to deal with them.
Wendy L. Werner’s call to action is clear: “lawyers have a unique opportunity to intervene on behalf of those with fewer resources, and people who have been under served and under-represented. Many of us have been impacted by the growing knowledge of racial inequities, and recognition of disparities. This is a moment to intervene and no one group has more power to make a difference than lawyers. Now is the time.”
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to surge in various parts of the country, you’re no doubt facing uncertainties on how and when to reopen your law firm. You’re also likely wondering about the future of your law firm and its book of business. One way to directly address these concerns is to prioritize preparing your firm for whatever may come. Whether it’s a pandemic or economic downturn, pre-emptive protocols and a strong technology foundation will help you maintain business continuity in the event of future disruption. Is your firm ready? If not, there’s no better time to ensure that you’re protected, and this free webinar and accompanying transcript by Nicole L. Black are excellent resources to help you mitigate an over abundance of challenges.
Nicole L. Black has published a series of articles focused on helping your firm work remotely and effectively throughout the pandemic. As many firms throughout the country are planning and executing phased re-openings, Nicole identifies issues and actions to assess and implement to permit your firm to open its doors to clients safely, with their best interests in mind.
Along with most conferences in all sectors, the largest legal technology conferences, ILTACON, will be held virtually this year. Nicole L. Black proposes using avatars to make such conferences more interesting and impactful.
Luke Zaphir, Researcher for the University of Queensland Critical Thinking Project, posits that amid the panicked flurry of the pandemic, employing concepts from the field of critical thinking called vice epistemology can be demonstrably useful. This theory argues our thinking habits and intellectual character traits cause poor reasoning. Zaphr targets for discussion 7 “intellectual sins” of which we should be mindful in these challenging times.
On an individual level, lawyers and legal professionals are experiencing a mix of productivity challenges in a new and potentially permanently changed legal landscape. Martin Cogburn discusses the top productivity challenges individuals are facing, the tools they’re adopting, and their thoughts on the long term effects of COVID-19 on the legal industry.
Karina Bihar is student of Professor Dennis Kennedy at Michigan State College of Law. I am pleased to publish her timely and significant article. Bihar states: “…a higher number of mothers are entering the workforce than ever before…according the U.S. Department of Labor, 71.5% of mothers in the United States are working. However, there has been very little advancement made in society to help mothers maintain their working status. As a result, many mothers are forced into choosing lower paying jobs, part-time work, or leaving the workforce to care for young children, causing loss of earnings, gender pay gaps, and loss of valuable workers in the market.” Her struggles as an expectant mother in law school gave her greater awareness of the problems that career mothers need addressed and her article provides an actionable, innovative and well documented solution that merits the attention and tangible support of the legal education and professional communities.
After months of business closures, many states are beginning to slowly allow more essential businesses to open their doors. In most states, law firms will be among the first wave of businesses that are permitted to resume providing services to the public. This is a welcome development for lawyers, but one that comes hand in hand with uncertainty. After all, resuming business in the midst of a pandemic is uncharted territory, and opening your firm doesn’t mean you’ll be returning to business as usual. Attorney Nicole L. Black identifies the host of issues that must be considered when re-opening, not the least of which is to ensure that the health of both law firm employees and clients is protected.
There is a great deal that newly remote teams can learn from teams that have worked remotely for several years. Nancy Dixon’s recommendations on how to stay connected is a resource for managers, staff and teams, and focuses on social and professional aspects of maintaining effective and positive work product now and into the future.