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Zoom sessions keep Young Lawyers connected during COVID-19

Zoom sessions keep Young Lawyers connected during COVID-19

By Karin Derkley

COVID-19 Practice Management 


Young lawyers learned last week how to present themselves positively in a virtual world in the first of what will be a fortnightly online series free for all LIV members.

Young lawyers president Alice Cooney said the 2020 program of events had been completely redesigned in light of the physical distancing requirements. The new program was designed from scratch in just three weeks, she said. “We have been experimenting with ideas, format content and with speakers, quite literally from all over the world.”

The first session, 'Physically Different Professionally Close: How Young Lawyers can thrive in a virtual working world' was presented by Erika Pagano, head of innovation and legal design at United Kingdom legal engineering firm Simmons Wavelength (pictured presenting above).

Ms Pagano told the 90 minute Zoom session that in a physically distanced world it was important for lawyers to move towards more “elastic” thinking and overcome challenges through social cooperation and innovation.

She gave practical tips on how to engage better with others via online meetings, including first making contact via LinkedIn or email, and researching any work others may have posted or published. “And always confirm a meeting with people.”

Lawyers should approach video-conference meetings in a professional way, and present themselves in literally the best light, she said. “Make sure the lighting is flattering, with stronger lighting up front rather than behind you, and avoid lighting from below which can make you look sinister.”

“And smile!” she said.

While working from home, she advised demarcating a clear zone for work paraphernalia. “Even if it’s just a runner on your kitchen table, outside of which you don’t have any digital stuff.”

She also advised young lawyers to pay attention to their “personal brand” and their online persona. “You need to be your own PR agent.”

The Zoom format gave the approximately 100 participants the opportunity to have their questions answered in real time. A recording of the webinar will be made available via the Young Lawyers Online Resource Centre, with 1 CPD point available for each session.

The next session on May 7 will feature Australian Survivor All-Stars contestants and lawyers Sharn Coombes and Phoebe Timmins who will share their experience from the reality television show and provide insights on how to build resilience, manage stress, develop trust and find “hidden immunity idols” in your legal career.

Future sessions will canvass different ways of finding career happiness in the law, and an interactive workshop that aims to empower young lawyers to have difficult conversations with the colleagues and supervisors.

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