How the pandemic changed the legal profession

Updated: Jan 21

Unlock talent and let it run. #Multipliers

In July 2021 I read a book that changed how I interact with others. Instead of looking at a conversation as an opportunity to share what I know, I learned to look at those moments as a time to discover the genius in others.

Multipliers: How the best leaders make every smarter
Written by: Liz Wiseman

In a pandemic world- this isn't easy. It takes a lot of work when you're working over Zoom.

All Rise: Zoom court is now in session

Prior to the pandemic you entered a meeting or court and there was a sense of formality and focus. All eyes were on the judge- or the speaker- and there is nothing happening except what they are saying.

As the legal community gatherings and proceeding moved online, this became more difficult. Sure, the judge or speaker was speaking, but... the dog is running! The washing machine finished! or even in some instances- I am driving a car! I found the focus to be scattered as we tried to come together while being apart.

When I read the book "Multipliers" I realized I needed- the legal community needed- to catch the attention while in these Zoom meetings. Here's what helps:

  1. A quiet place: go where you can't hear the laundry/dog/etc. The space can be as small as a closet, but having the focus strengthens your presence.

  2. "Pin" the speaker. No- I'm not talking about in that 1950's going steady way- I mean make it so their screen is the only one you see.

  3. Dress the part: Nothing helps my behavior better than dressing how I'd be in person. If we look the professional we can better internalize professionalism.

  4. Have a notepad handy. To doodle, take notes, or just have at the ready for when it's your turn to present.

I am sure there are many other things that could be done as a listener. But what about as the presenter? Here's what I learned about this being a Continuing Legal Education (CLE) presenter in virtual meetings:

  1. Talk with your hands: any time you remove the personableness of in person gathering, there will be nonverbal cues that are lost. by talking with your hands, you bring that communication back to the video to help others listen and understand the ideas and thoughts you are trying to share.

  2. Opening Remarks: It's easy to just jump right into what you need to say. But everyone may not be listening. Or perhaps they are having technical difficulties. So start off with a polite statement that invites those involved to start listening and to check their connectivity. (Good morning everyone! - I am here to discuss civil procedure - My name is Charmaine Wilde)

  3. PAUSE. When we share what we know, we get excited. We talk fast. We get ahead of ourselves. So- get comfortable with a little silence. a 2-3 second pause throughout your presentation will help you clearly communicate (not to mention the court reporter will thank you later if it's a court proceeding).

  4. Screen share- some of the time. When you are sharing a complex idea or case cites, it's best if we can all see the relevant statute or case reference on the screen. Don't just say it- show it. At the same time, don't just show it- say it. Your eyes engage the listener. Give everyone a chance to connect and then reconnect and you teach and learn.

I am sure there are many more ways in which you can share and be a Multiplier- or how others can bring out your genius if you're learning and listening. The wonderful thing about the legal profession is we can adapt and learn to move forward with our work whatever challenges may come- even if that means over Zoom.

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