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Lawyers in lockdown … Pt 1

09 April 2020

We asked lawyers around the country how they are getting on during the lockdown: what are they doing to cope with the lack of office working and dealing with technology at home. Here are the first two lawyers.

Maree Baker-Galloway, partner, Anderson Lloyd, Queenstown

How are you getting round the lack of face-to-face meetings, team meetings et al, and continuing (if so) to work productively?

Maree: We are fortunate to be very well supported by our management and IT team, and staff are all set up with decent phone and internet connections, laptops and Zoom – to be honest, for me personally, I am probably having more catch-ups with teams and partners than I usually do as we all agree it is very important to stay connected.  Now that I am not out of the office in hearings and mediations I have more time and headspace to stay connected, and it’s an incredibly important time to do so.

With clients and consultants it’s the same – staying in touch either by phone, Zoom or Microsoft Teams primarily.

Lockdown lego

How are you coping with technology?

Maree: Very well – I've always had a home office setup and travelled a lot for work too so haven't missed a beat.  But having the full firm working remotely is a total credit to our IT team and management.

What’s the most intriguing thing you’ve learned about yourself during the lockdown so far?

Maree: That I am a surprisingly content homebody – no cabin fever yet.

Any funny/quirky tales to tell?

Maree: Nothing too outrageous – but I can highly recommend themed (ie dress up) Friday night drinks with your office by Zoom.

[Above: Maree’s eight-year-old daughter's lego self portrait of her and mum working from home].

Paul Woolhouse, Regulatory Solicitor, New Zealand Law Society | Te Kāhui Ture o Aotearoa

How are you getting round the lack of face-to-face meetings, team meetings et al, and continuing (if so) to work productively?

Paul: In 2019 Te Kāhui Ture abandoned ship on its earthquake-prone Wellington offices and we all worked from home for a few weeks. The upshot of that experience is that this time around, we’ve all been pretty quick to reacclimatise to the home office environment. We still conduct meetings via Zoom and can call one another, so it’s largely business as usual.

I’m fortunate to have a fantastic record collection at home (he says humbly), so have replaced my colleagues’ workplace banter with an endless supply of music. I think even they would agree that’s an improvement. On a more serious note, I’m finding there are lulls and moments of immense tiredness, which is to be expected. I get out for regular runs around the neighbourhood to maintain my sanity; it really is fantastic for mental wellbeing.

Lockdown Paul

How are you coping with technology?

Paul: Technology really hasn’t been an issue here – we’re lucky to have the benefit of such intuitive tech these days. Te Kāhui Ture's IT team has been top notch on the support front.

What’s the most intriguing thing you’ve learned about yourself during the lockdown so far?

Paul: Perhaps how quickly I’ve come to accept my new dishevelled self. It started with the unkempt hair, then the beard, the high school leavers’ hoodie (of unspecified vintage). Meetings or not, this is the new me and I thank my colleagues for being so accommodating.

Any funny/quirky tales to tell?

Paul: Well, there was the day my bubble buddy started burning treated wood in the fireplace. But on reflection, that was not a very funny experience.

[Above: Paul's usual walkway near his Wellington home]

Last updated on the 9th April 2020