Many people in today’s covid crazy World are talking about endless possibilities and the positives of remote working.
The most obvious advantage is saving the time, stress (and money) of the daily commute.
For some folk that can be as much as 2 hours a day.
This is time that you can spend on doing more work, better quality work, relaxation, family & friends.
And of course, being able to get the door for that all important Amazon delivery or putting on a load of washing to free up some of your weekend.
However, in all this positive chatter it does sometimes feel like we are all trying to square a circle.
We somehow end up not speaking about the potential drawbacks of remote working.
Perhaps because we think the words will travel from our lips to the ears of Managing Partners who will abruptly put an end to our pajama wearing work days.
We will then all be forced to follow the science and work two meters apart.
The office cafeteria and gym serving as the overflow workspace.
The truth of the matter is that the negative impacts of remote working may well be felt hardest by Junior lawyers. Specifically, trainees through to perhaps 3-4 year PQE.
For most, these are the most formative 4-6 years as a private practice lawyer.
It is when you develop from being a young pup to a confident and very often brilliant lawyer.
You make this transition in large part through tutelage and observation.
You are trained daily and you observe. You imbibe every call, meeting and musing of senior lawyers.
You cannot put a price on the ad-hoc learning and experience you get from being physically situated with senior lawyers.
How about those times when a Partner stops by to talk through a tough or novel legal issue with your mentor?
How about those ‘bumping-ins’ in the corridors, library, cafeteria that lead to new angles or opportunities?
The same scale for learning, training, cross pollination and building your own internal brand simply does not exist for Junior lawyers in the remote working scenario.
At worst, remote working will be doing a major disservice to Junior lawyers on the promise and duty of providing them exceptional training and helping them become the best lawyers they can be.
At best, remote working today for these Junior lawyers means that the quality of future Partners and leaders may well be a little thin.