Our Lawyer Spotlight series highlights Illinois lawyers who are demonstrating the ideals of professionalism in their daily lives. These attorneys are teaching us how to adapt and thrive in the changing legal environment.
Shekar Jayaraman is the Principal Attorney at Jayaraman Law, LLC, where his practice focuses on civil, commercial, and real estate litigation; business formation and corporate governance; and estate planning and probate.
How is Jayaraman Law adapting to the changing work environment?
At Jayaraman Law, even prior to COVID-19, we considered ourselves to be a very “tech-forward” law firm. We have always taken pride in allowing clients to access our online, data-secured client portal in which clients can access their working documents, as well as any final work product, 24/7 in real-time with their unique login credentials.
As such, adapting to this change was not necessarily challenging for us, as we already had the necessary infrastructure in place. This enabled us to successfully implement Governor Pritzker’s Executive Order in Response to COVID-19 restrictions into our daily practice.
What unique challenges do attorneys face when navigating COVID-19?
Depending on the attorney’s specific practice areas, practitioners have felt many unique challenges across the board. To name a few, adapting to the new remote notarization directives by the governor; adjusting the practice to efficiently conduct client intakes and signings virtually; virtual hearings and navigating various county court system COVID-19 local rules, as well as federal court system COVID-19 local rules; and ultimately ensuring that this new norm is able to be observed whilst maintaining utmost client confidentiality, privilege, and ease.
How do you maintain civility in your practice?
Over-communication is one of our mottos at Jayaraman Law. Respect for all parties involved and staying balanced at all times is key to maintaining civility in practice during stressful situations. I not only give my clients my cell phone number but also provide the same to opposing counsel. I do this because it allows for a steady flow of dialogue and removes any potentially uncomfortable barriers or potential for miscommunication.
As much as all parties involved can be on the same page at all times, the better the chance that the matter will get resolved in an amicable, respectful manner. As attorneys, we are all in this together – to zealously advocate on our clients’ behalf while maintaining mutual respect.
What long-term impacts will COVID-19 have on the legal profession?
While adjusting has been challenging, I think ultimately a very positive outcome will manifest. COVID-19 has, in a sense, forced Cook County, the collar counties, and the state of Illinois to work more efficiently and become more tech-forward. Many courts, practitioners, and service providers are now realizing that much of what we were previously doing in person, sometimes redundantly, can be efficiently accomplished remotely while maintaining all of the necessary protocols.
How are you maintaining your work/life balance during the pandemic?
It is important to do whatever it takes to not only support yourself but those around you as well. This starts with recognizing what makes you stay balanced. For me, it is healthy eating, having an active lifestyle, and making sure I stay hydrated and get an adequate amount of sleep. Working from home, I still make it a point to wake up and get ready as if I am going to the office. I want to make sure I don’t deviate too much from my daily routine. I think it’s important to try to maintain a regular routine as much as possible.
As relates to my staff, I work hard at maintaining empathy and realizing that everyone is dealing with this new norm in their own ways. Therefore, it is important to stay compassionate and recognize that everybody’s mental health is our number one priority.
Our Lawyer Spotlight recognizes attorneys throughout Illinois who are admired for their professionalism and civility. Check out more interviews with attorneys like Shekar Jayaraman here.