It’s been 18 months since the first lockdown took place and it is fair to say that Covid-19 has impacted everyone’s lives, but how has Covid-19 impacted junior lawyers and what will be the new junior lawyer experience be like going forward?
As a junior lawyer, you are learning something new everyday, but when the first lockdown took place in March 2020, life for everyone changed, you may be newly qualified or may have started a job without attending the office and for the first time maybe meeting with your colleagues online. With meetings taking place by Zoom or Teams, it seems as though technology has been a huge factor and has helped us shape the way we work going forward, for example take remote hearings, whilst some of us may miss the Court presence, remote hearings do have some benefits with less travelling being involved and knowing that you are no longer waiting around in Court for your hearing to be take place.
Most of us have worked from home for the past 18 months and for some it may have been quite difficult not to have your team present, but it’s really important to reach out to your colleagues to discuss matters and pick up the phone for a chat to keep the social interaction.
Networking plays a key part in a junior lawyer’s role, you get to meet other people within your profession, attend new events but sadly at the start of lockdown, all events had to stop. Fast forward 18 months and adaptation has been key for all junior lawyers. For example the Birmingham Solicitors’ Group have hosted a range of events online including the ‘Come dine with me’ competition to raise money for charity and hosted guests taking part online in the ‘BSG Wellbeing Month.’ There are plenty of ways to get involved even if the event is taking place virtually, however all restrictions are due be lifted on 19 July so hopefully gatherings can take place once it is safe to do so.
For some people working from home has proved difficult, some people find that it is hard to break away from work and create that work life balance. It is important to remember that mental health plays a huge part in our lives. It is important to do the small things, such as, taking breaks, going for a walk and most importantly ensuring that you are looking after yourself! The Birmingham Solicitors’ Group has a range of information on the importance of wellbeing so be sure to check out their page for more information.
Some of us may be looking forward to returning to the office but some may be feeling anxious. We all have encountered different experiences in the last 18 months. Working from home may have been good for some and Covid-19 has taught us that there are some things, for example, like remote hearings will be here to stay. Life as a junior lawyer can be challenging so it’s always good to reflect on what went well for you and what can be improved and speak to someone for support in how to achieve this.
Whether you are glad to be working from home, happy to be returning to the office or excited to be able to do the best of both, it’s important to give your self a pat on the back for adapting to a new way of working in the middle of a pandemic!
By Sheena Chandarana, Solicitor