Traditionally our Lawyer Spotlight series has highlighted Illinois lawyers who are demonstrating the ideals of professionalism in their daily lives. However, in light of COVID-19, legal professionals are facing new challenges that are impacting their work and home lives in a way that we’ve never experienced.
In a special Lawyer Spotlight series, we will explore how attorneys are adapting professionally and personally to the coronavirus pandemic.
We begin with Maureen Kieffer, who is the Assistant Dean of Career Services at Loyola University Chicago School of Law. Maureen also teaches in Loyola’s Children’s Law and Policy Masters of Jurisprudence program and its J.D. externship program and co-teaches the Public Interest Law Seminar.
How has Loyola School of Law adapted to the changing work environment?
Loyola School of Law was uniquely prepared for this transition given our online courses offered in our LLM, MJ, and weekend JD programs. We have a tremendous team of professionals familiar with the technology and pedagogy associated with online learning that is there to advise and support our faculty in making a very quick transition to online learning.
How has Loyola transitioned from in-person to online courses?
The students, faculty, and administration have been resilient in their ability to pivot from in-person to online classes. It has really been a community-building experience with everyone supporting one another. A benefit from the transition to online courses is that the students are acquiring technology skills that will be an asset to them throughout their careers.
Do you have advice for young attorneys who are entering the workforce?
As attorneys, we are trained to guide clients through very difficult situations and this is the most unique scenario we may encounter in our legal careers. We have skills to offer to assist in this crisis and hopefully that provides us with a mission and purpose to allay the fear of uncertainty we are all facing. Bottom line, focus on what you can do to help.
How should legal organizations recruit law students right now?
Students are very open to interviewing and working remotely and law school career services are more than happy to assist legal organizations that would like to recruit law students. I am happy to connect legal organizations with our students, firstname.lastname@example.org
How are you maintaining civility during stressful situations?
I think focusing on well-being is very important and to make sure self-care is part of our routine so that when a stressful situation arises, we can maintain our professionalism and empathy.
How will COVID-19 impact legal education in the future?
In general, legal education has been slow to embrace technology and distance learning. I think this experience has forced all of us to embrace technology and gain a new understanding of what does and does not translate to an online learning environment.
How are you maintaining your work/life balance during the pandemic?
My kids are very good at planning activities to keep us balanced–we have been enjoying sidewalk chalk art, Zumba, and cooking together.
Our Lawyer Spotlight recognizes attorneys throughout Illinois who are admired for their professionalism and civility. Check out more interviews with attorneys like Maureen Kieffer here.