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  • Bart Ridley

Clarity Through Hardship

Updated: Jun 1, 2020

365 days ago, we started a new law firm. We set out with the goal of simplifying our operations. If you have ever seen the movie “Office Space,” you could say we set out to do away with “TPS Reports”.

A byproduct of the effort to simplify operations was securing technology that allowed us to work remotely. The idea was not borne out of the desire to work from home, but the desire to be efficient when working away from the office and hopefully allow more time for the things that really matter in life. We spent countless hours planning for different potential challenges to our new law firm that could lie ahead. Good lawyers always prepare for trial with the understanding that things will likely not go totally as planned. None of our planning contemplated a worldwide pandemic.


Home Alone

On March 12, before any “Stay at Home” orders were issued, we made the decision to begin working from home. It was a somewhat easy transition for us given our available technology. However, we thought it would be a short-term issue and that we would return to our offices by the end of March.

Then April 15. Now maybe May 1. Maybe.


I have stopped trying to predict the approximate date when we as a city, county, state, country and world will return to “normal”. Quite frankly, it seems apparent to me that things will be never be quite the same.


Why?


  • We all are shaped by our unique life experiences.

  • We all have different experiences related to the pandemic.

  • A person’s experiences may differ based upon where they live, and what they do for a living.


We have clients from across the country that do business in large and small communities throughout the State of Texas who are all facing unique challenges.


From my perspective as a Texas lawyer, there are many practical questions about the practice of law in Texas going forward. Mainly the following:


  • When the Courts resume “normal” operations, what can our clients expect?

  • How do we predict what a future jury might do when asked to consider awarding damages to a person claiming personal injuries and lost wages?

  • Will we be seeing the judge and jury in person or by a video feed?


All questions that we hope to have answers for as uncertainty dissipates. But given the level of hardship currently being endured throughout our nation, it will become more challenging to offer concrete opinions as to what we can expect from our Court system. Despite our collective experience as lawyers, there is no playbook for the seismic changes that are unfolding. Those that are willing to adapt and ready to innovate will ultimately lead the way in establishing more efficient solutions for how all business is conducted both inside and outside of the courthouse.


New problems, lead to new solutions.


I have been struck by the dichotomy of the hardship surrounding this time, and the clarity this time has also provided. In my hometown, I never imagined a long line of cars waiting at the high school to pick up meals from the Mobile Food Pantry. But this sight also provided me clarity in the form of a reminder of how quickly things can change and that we should take nothing for granted.


We set out to simplify our operations 365 days ago. Unbeknownst to us, we were also preparing for this current challenge by being able to work remotely. I am proud of the law firm we have created and the service we continue to provide for our clients during these most difficult times. We will get through this. Perhaps the hardship the world is enduring has also given us all the opportunity to achieve greater clarity in the things that really matter in life.


The pandemic forced us all to simplify our operations.

 

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