(A note: we weren’t sure about doing a lawstory episode during the Coronavirus situation. We appreciate that for many lawyers, and especially young lawyers, it is a time of great anxiety – emotional and financial. But we thought we would try to reflect what is happening and do so in the “spirit of lawstory” – i.e. reflecting the darker and lighter side of life. Stay safe and well everyone.)
It’s a Thursday, week four of lockdown. The offices of FFS are largely empty. But Sam and Hassan, both associates, are in and trying to look busy. Hassan walks into Sam’s office.
“No! Don’t even think about it”
Sam looks accusingly at Hassan and he looks away bashfully.
“I saw you eyeing up my hand sanitiser. Have you still not got any of your own?”
“Yes I have and no I wasn’t. And anyway, who’d want bubble gum flavoured anything … except maybe bubble gum.”
“Aha, so you were looking!!” Sam smiled – she usually ended up smiling whenever she and Hassan got together.
“But seriously Sam, how are things – and anyway what are you doing here? It’s not your turn on the rota is it?”
“No, it isn’t, but I’m doing this knowledge management project for the employment team and, amazingly, some of what I need is in hard copy, so I thought I’d do a run and grab. Anyway, how about you Hassan, are you meant to be in?”
“No, but I think it’s legit. I’m getting a spare laptop for Briony who’s just down the road from me and is self-isolating. Her flatmate got symptoms a few days ago. And I cycled in, so I’m combining it with my one hour’s exercise.”
“What have you heard from the partners? Any new news?” – there was a concerned edge to Sam’s voice now.
“Probably only what you’ve heard. To be fair, I think our glorious leader [Rob the managing partner of FFS] is doing a decent job. At least the first news was that the partners were taking a 40% cut in drawings – but I still think that they are trying to work out who and how many will be furloughed.”
“And is he still doing that from the depths of his weekend, holiday cottage in the New Forest? Or as it is now called” – Sam very deliberately signalled the quote marks – “”home”?”
“Oh, give the guy a break Sam! You know he went down there before lockdown started”
“Ok, fair enough … but still convenient.” Sam smiled.
“Look, I need to get moving or my hour will be up” Hassan pointed at his watch.
“Sure, and I do remember that your brother’s a medic – how’s he doing? I’ll be clapping for him this evening”
“Thanks for asking – he’s fine and knackered. And saying what’s all the fuss about, he was working effing hard two months ago – and then reminding us how tough it is on the front line"
“Yeah, I get it. Ok see you soon …. And by the way, here!”
The little plastic pink bottle gently arced through the air towards Hassan.
(And finally, we deliberately have not included any resources in connection with this episode. If your experience is the same as ours, you will have been deluged with advice on what you should be doing. Everything from diet, exercise, sleep and mindfulness to learning a new language or taking up the ukulele. All of it well-intentioned. Some of it helpful and some simply annoying! We hope you all find whatever works for you.
How is your firm treating young lawyers and other staff during the Coronavirus problems?
What are your experiences of life during lockdown? Still working? Working from home? How do you feel? Is there something that your firm is doing that is really helpful and others could learn from? (Please let us know and your response will be anonymous unless you choose to give your name.)