CBA Record March-April 2022


The Importance of Coming Together By Tracy Brammeier, YLS Chair

I ’ve enjoyed the upsides of working from home over the past couple of years. For example, I could get in a workout in the morning when I normally would have been commuting to the o ffi ce (without sacri fi cing an hour of sleep). I prepared healthier meals when I was able to start dinner preparations at lunch time. I loved that I could do these things and still be just as—if not more—productive profession ally as I was pre-pandemic. But as much as I like being able to work from anywhere (and I think a more fl exible policy is terri fi c), there are some drawbacks. Yes, email is e ffi cient and convenient. But it is also impersonal and working from home

can be isolating. Likewise, after back-to back video calls, the body can get cramped, and fatigue sets in quickly. Since I began consistently going back to the o ffi ce, I have had to admit that there is nothing that can replace physically being in the same room as someone. I believe this is because, in part, even though the combination of email com munication, video conferencing, and remote work makes us more productive and e ffi cient than ever before, it also makes it harder for us to talk to each other. It is so much harder to build new relationships or to maintain and strengthen casual connec tions in a meaningful way without actually

meeting up with people. When used appropriately, remote court appearances are a useful tool and a great option that frees up resources. Even so, ask yourself: since switching to remote court appearances and Zoom depositions, when is the last time you had a real conversation with someone in the legal industry who is not in your o ffi ce? Pre-pandemic, I made an e ff ort to ask my opposing counsel about their family or business after a court hearing or while on break during a deposition. I chatted with court reporters and witnesses about their day and current events. I experienced posi tive human connections with the people I encountered every day while doing my job. Th is not only helped me build relationships that were bene fi cial to my clients and my law fi rm, but it also was a part of what made me enjoy going to work every day. Although those interactions are not gone altogether, trading meetings for emails generally has meant that we are all business, all the time. We have lost the personal touch. Th at takes its toll. Since the start of the pandemic, reports of anxiety, depression, substance abuse, stress, and suicidal thoughts have nearly doubled, according to the National Insti

20 March/April 2022

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