Redefining Resilience

  • June 21, 2020
  • Rachel Migicovsky, Member-at-Large

What are lawyers worried about in the midst of a global pandemic? 

The issues are varied, from balancing childcare with work, to caring for vulnerable elderly family members, to financial concerns. Yet, there is a common thread: people are feeling the pressures of this moment in time and need a way to cope. While social media may say that it is necessary to be ultra-effective in all parts of our lives, that pressure is also exhausting. Building up resilience can help people acknowledge and accept the emotional distress they may be feeling.

Richa Sandill is concerned about the well-being of her low-income clients at Scarborough Legal Services, where she is a staff lawyer working with vulnerable workers: “My fear right now is that out there, a lot of people might have no choice but to sign onto major work condition changes without realizing the long-term consequences of doing so.” 

Tanya Pagliaroli, the founding lawyer of TAP Law was in the middle of a four-week trial when the courts shut down. The trial was adjourned indefinitely. “If and when the trial resumes,” she says, “the cost involved in ramping up again for the continuation of the trial will be significant.” 

Others are feeling vulnerable with respect to their effectiveness in their work. “I can accept that the professional environment that previously helped me attain and define my success no longer exists”, says Brieanne Brannagan, a partner at Gowlings WLG. However, she continues, “I am finding it challenging to put that understanding in practice when it comes to defining my own day-to-day success” in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.