Law360 (May 22, 2020, 5:33 PM EDT) --
Today's perspective comes from Pasadena, California-based trial lawyer Mark E. Beck at Beck Law PC. He specializes in white collar criminal defense and investigations.
What challenges has the pandemic created in your specific area of work?
We plan, God laughs. Or so it is said.
And so we scramble to protect our loved ones, clients, friends and others in the aftermath of an event more potentially disruptive to our lives than anything most of us will ever know.
In some ways, we are very lucky. While we need to shelter, we can conduct much of our essential business from our bunkers. We can also communicate with nearly anyone, plug into the world outside via various feeds, and dial up theater-quality entertainment from unlimited libraries. If the pandemic exploded just a few years earlier, we would have been more isolated in our shelters, making it more difficult if not impossible to attend our clients, stay in touch with our loved ones, and watch the latest news or entertainment.
For example, 40 years ago, it was difficult to run a law practice in Los Angeles and try a case in East St. Louis because the fax machine had not been introduced and FedEx meant at least a day's delay in written communication. And 25 or so years ago, in just the year before Blackberry was ubiquitous in Ireland, a visiting lawyer from Los Angeles would need to miss half his golf rounds sprinting from pay phone to pay phone for a client in crisis.
And so it is something of a miracle that we can shelter in place and maintain a semblance of life as we knew it through modern technology.
How are you and your family adapting at home?
With our kids grown, married and, I hope, safe, my wife Bonnie and I are enjoying the quiet. I spend most of the days working with colleagues electronically on behalf of clients far and near. Bonnie attends her business as needed, but allows time every day to read, think and nudge me to join her in imagining the next few years and beyond.
Who knows what the future holds? But it certainly will be fast upon us, and in forms we might not yet envisage.
We know now that we may not be as bound by geography as we have been. For example, we are learning that the expensive home or apartment in the city we have or dream about might be traded for a cabin in the woods because commuting is no longer a necessity.
This cataclysmic event has been a tragedy for some and painful for many. My heart goes out to all. But at the same time this may be an opportunity for us to rethink our priorities. If nothing else, the pandemic should be a reminder that nature happens without our consent. We can only hope to prepare and respond wisely.
What is the most creative or productive response to the crisis you've witnessed so far?
I have been very impressed by the health care workers who have risked their own lives to treat victims of the virus. I wish only that the politicians responsible for protecting our brave workers had demonstrated equal courage by making sure our medical front line heroes had adequate protective clothing.
The opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organization, its clients, or Portfolio Media Inc., or any of its or their respective affiliates. This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice.
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