Though this period of uncertainty may seem daunting, you should use it as an opportunity to not only improve yourself as a lawyer but also as an individual. Here are five tips for family lawyers who are struggling to find their balance during COVID-19.
By Matthew P. Barach, Family Law and Appellate Attorney
While the entire world is suffering the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, those involved in family law matters are facing additional unexpected personal issues, such as how to best fill the time created by courts that are now temporarily shuttered.
As family lawyers across the country are adjusting to our “new normal,” it’s important during this period of uncertainty to use time wisely and productively to better serve not only your clients but yourself.
Below are five tips for family lawyers who are struggling to find a balance during COVID-19.
5 Tips for Family Lawyers Dealing with the COVID-19 Pandemic
1. Maintain a Routine
During this unprecedented time, maintain a consistent routine and schedule your time wisely.
Use blocks of time for work, exercise, and rest, and be consistent with your use of time to stay effective.
Make connecting with your staff and peers part of your consistent routine. Schedule weekly virtual meetings to maintain connections and regularly check in with your professional relationships to ensure they remain strong.
However, be sure to not over-schedule or overcompensate for the void in your time. The thought of not having enough work may seem unimaginable. Avoid the immediate reaction to over-schedule client calls and virtual meetings. It is important to recognize these are strange times and you will have both good and bad days – accept it and stay mentally healthy by providing balance to your time.
2. Make Time for Yourself
Speaking of staying balanced, it is essential to make time for yourself so you don’t end up staring at a screen all day. Do things for you – whether that means getting some fresh air, exercising, or just stepping away from your computer to have a coffee break. Whatever gives you a mental timeout, schedule that time into your calendar daily
3. Grow Your Skills
Since you are no longer running back and forth between courts, use this extra time to learn something new, whether professionally or personally. Many associations are now hosting online seminars and workshops, giving professionals the opportunity to hone their skills from the comfort of their own home.
Additionally, you can use this time to try something new. Have you wanted to learn to play the guitar or speak mandarin? Now is the time to go for it. Utilize your extra time to foster your creativity or develop a skill that will benefit you and your business in the long term.
4. Plan for the Future
With so much uncertainty in the world, it may be challenging to focus on the future. However, it’s important that you also think about your plans once the pandemic is over. What can you take away from this experience and how can you utilize that to better yourself and your business? Encourage your employees to think outside the box as well and ask questions such as:
- Were there things you enjoyed or didn’t enjoy about working remotely?
- Should you consider adding a new practice area?
- Will you continue to have virtual meetings to cut back on travel time?
- Should you be making more time for yourself?
- How can I continue to balance life and work?
These are the types of questions that should be contemplated before going back to business-as-usual.
5. Market Yourself
Clients are putting divorces, custody battles, and other family law matters on hold for now – however, that will quickly change once life returns to normal. Use this newfound downtime as an opportunity to market yourself so that once the pandemic subsides, you are positioned as the go-to family lawyer.
As potential clients look to begin their family law cases, they’ll be researching attorneys who are well-informed on the latest policies. Take this opportunity to update your bio on your firm website, publish a blog post, contribute an article to your favorite legal news source, or even make new connections through LinkedIn. Most of these opportunities are free and only take a few minutes of your time, making now the perfect time to explore them.
Use This Time for Professional and Personal Improvement
Though this period of uncertainty may seem daunting, you should use it as an opportunity to not only improve yourself as a lawyer but also as an individual. Handling family law matters is not usually easy, and it undoubtedly becomes even more difficult in the face of a pandemic. Nonetheless, having a solid balance in the face of it all is key to your success.
Matthew P. Barach is a family law trial attorney and appellate family law specialist. The founder and principal of Barach Family Law Group in Massachusetts, he is the author of The Family Law Guide to Appellate Practice (ABA Book Publishing, 2019). www.barachfamilylaw.com
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