Coping With A Pandemic: Google's Mary Shen O'Carroll

Law360 (March 25, 2020, 1:07 PM EDT) --
Mary Shen O'Carroll
Mary Shen O'Carroll
As self-isolation and social distancing become the norm during the COVID-19 pandemic, Law360 is sharing reactions from people around the business and legal community.

Today's perspective comes from Mary Shen O'Carroll, director of legal operations at Google in Mountain View, California, and president of the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium.

What challenges has the pandemic created in your specific area of work?

We were very fortunate to have tackled business continuity planning for the legal department at Google about a year ago. Through that work, we had already identified our critical workflows and how to recover them in case of a disruption. As a cloud-based tech company, it was easy for us (for the most part) to transition quickly to a remote workforce.

Surprisingly, one of the most challenging things to solve for was physical mail and service of process during something like this. I hope that a positive outcome of this crisis is that more of those physical processes move permanently to digital. Here's hoping!

How are you and your family adapting at home?

As an off-the-charts-extrovert, the social isolation is killing me, so I hope this doesn't last too long. The first week of two working parents with three kids needing to be home-schooled on different schedules felt like utter chaos. I was tearing my hair out wondering how on earth we were going to survive this.

That said, we like a lot of structure, so we've quickly settled into our new routines and things are working pretty well now ... knock on wood. Plus we have plenty of toilet paper and wine, so we should be alright.

What is the most creative or productive response to the crisis you've witnessed so far?

You mean besides lots of wine?

In all seriousness, I'm always impressed with the way people come together and rise to the occasion when a crisis emerges. Despite having uncertainty all around us and new family dynamics to manage, I've seen legal team members work quickly and effectively to gather information, jump on video calls, and make critical business decisions.

It's times like this that we really need each other and people have really stepped up and are working together in a way that inspires me.

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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