As it did for the other students in my articling cohort, the COVID-19 pandemic hit at that awkward period where you are close to finishing the articling term (I was three months out), but still have the final push to get through. Like everything else during this unprecedented time, the pandemic turned my articling on its head. Suddenly, I was working from my dining room table at home, in my small apartment with my husband working at his desk right next to me. Luckily, I articled and now work as an associate at a supportive firm that cares about my and the rest of the lawyers' and staff’s well-being. That support meant that I was able to finish up my articles relatively smoothly from home. Now that Ontario is preparing for a second wave, here are some tips on how to adjust to working from home as an articling student or new associate and a couple of things that I missed about being in the office.
1. Keep your routine (as much as possible)
It is well known among my friends and colleagues that I am not a natural early riser, so keeping my wake-up time and workday consistent with when I was physically going into the office allowed me to maintain some semblance of normalcy and consistency with my pre-COVID work day.
2. Ask your firm to bring your monitors/other office equipment home
When I began working from home, I immediately missed my dual monitors, separate keyboard, and mouse. Setting up your at-home office space so that it meets your needs will help you be more productive and will help with my first suggestion, since it mimics your ‘at the office’ experience. Many firms have been willing to ensure that their lawyers and staff have all the technology they need from the office so that they can work from home more effectively.
3. Attend continuing professional development about the state of the law and legal practice during COVID-19
The Canadian Bar Association, the Ontario Bar Association, The Advocates’ Society, The Advocacy Club, and the Law Society of Ontario have been quick to produce continuing professional development programs that can help you stay up to date on how the pandemic is affecting various areas of the law and provide tips and tricks on how to practice effectively while the Ontario emergency order remains in place.