The most-read articles on law firm management, tech and lawyer marketing during this surreal year.
When asked the one word or phrase they’d use to describe 2020, Washington Post readers came back with “exhausting” and “relentless” and “surreal.” “Dumpster fire,” “heartbreaking” and “persevere” also made the list. Over at Dictionary.com, “unprecedented” and “hellacious” are up top, while the lexicographers at Oxford opted to ignore precedent and said, “umm, no” to choosing a single “word of the year.” The year is just too … unprecedented.
The Guardian chose “pandemic” as the most influential word of 2020 because it best describes the sheer scale of the COVID-19 crisis. It has, of course, overshadowed everything and everyone — including this year’s list of Attorney at Work’s top 20 articles.
In February, after noting an uptick in interest in the topic, we published Megan Zavieh’s No. 2 post on the ethics of relocating. Little did we know that working remotely would become so common that the ABA would update its Model Rules to address it. In early March, the crisis looming, our contributors stepped up: Jared Correia predicted the shutdown would be a referendum on remote work. As confusion and chaos unfolded, Gina Rubel and Susan Kostal taught us how to communicate with both the media and clients during a crisis. Sharon Nelson and John Simek advised us on Zoom videoconferences — and the security risks of sending lawyers and legal professionals home to work, practically overnight, with few safeguards in place. Since April, remote work, videoconferencing, and what to do about marketing, tech, staffing and stress have been the themes of this relentless year.
Most of us became adept at Zoom — quickly shifting from “where’s the mute button?” to experimenting with Zoom backgrounds and flattering lighting. Why did Bull Garlington’s “Looking Good in a Tiny Square” rocket to No. 1 this year? What does it say about our collective state of mind that, even in these grim times, our default is to show up, sit up straight and try to look our best (at least up on top)? That we “persevere,” I suppose. To paraphrase Roy Ginsburg’s advice to solos in his No. 4 post: Failure was never an option. It helps to have someone as smart and funny as Bull to remind us to laugh.
Now, at year’s end, we’re back inside, isolating, watching COVID-19 cases climb during this surreal holiday season — and counting down the days until 2021 begins.
“Hope” is a word you won’t find on any of those 2020 word lists. We know the overwhelming problems we’re facing won’t fade with the New Year’s Eve fireworks. And yet, after a year filled with heartbreak — a surreal year, a dumpster-fire year — there is hope in sight. An inkling.
So thanks for sticking with us. We hope you enjoy this list — and we wish you unprecedented happiness and success in 2021.
Counting Down the Top 20
Here are the most popular posts published by Attorney at Work in 2020, covering law firm management, tech tips and business development, based solely on page views. Thanks to all of our contributors for sharing their expertise, creative thinking and support this year.
20. “The Power of List Making” by Meyling (Mey) Ly Ortiz
19. “10 Tips for a More Effective, Personable Attorney Bio” by Gina Rubel (@FuriaRubel)
18. “Attorney Unhappiness Hits a High: 5 Things We Can Do About It” by Jamie Spannhake (@IdealYear)
17. “5 Hacks to Level Up Your Videoconferencing Without Spending a Dime” by Andrea Cannavina (@AndreaCan)
16. “Succeeding in the Business of Law: 5 Rules Every Lawyer Should Live” by Robert Katzberg, author of “The Vanishing Trial”
15. “This Is How Lawyers and Clients Look Good on Video Calls” by Scott Brennan
14. “Five Tips for Online Court Appearances” by Joan Feldman (@AttnyatWork)
13. “Five Things to Stop Doing With Business Emails in 2020” by Laura Ernde
12. “Offline: The Coronavirus Outbreak Has Become a Referendum on Remote Work” by Jared Correia (@RedCaveLegal)
11. “Five Reasons Lawyers Avoid Retirement” by Camille Stell (@CamilleStell)
10. “Beware the Four Most Dangerous Outlook Features” (Video) by Deborah Savadra (@LegalOfficeGuru)
9. “Moving to a Virtual Law Office: How to Ethically ‘Practice in Place'” by Mark C. Palmer (@PalmerLaw)
8. “Public Speaking Tips for Videoconferencing During the COVID-19 Crisis” by Marsha Hunter
7. “Continuity of Care: Reassuring Clients You’re Prepared for COVID-19” by Susan Kostal (@SKostal)
6. “Scrub Your Document With Microsoft Word Document Inspector” (Video) by Deborah Savadra (@LegalOfficeGuru)
5. “30-Day Business Development Plan for Lawyers During the COVID-19 Crisis” by Jay Harrington (@HarringJ75)
4. “COVID-19 Impacts for Solo and Small Firm Lawyers: Beyond Remote Work” by Roy Ginsburg
3. “Getting Started With Zoom and Using It Securely” by Sharon Nelson (@SharonNelsonEsq) and John Simek (@SenseiEnt)
2. “Can You Relocate Without Taking a New Bar Exam?” by Megan Zavieh (@ZaviehLaw)
1. “Zoom Backgrounds: Looking Good in a Tiny Square” by Bull Garlington (@Bull_Garlington)
Attorney at Work’s writers and editors are working hard every day on our mission to deliver law firm management tips that help you create a law practice and a life you love. Do you have a question, an idea or a topic you’d like to learn more about? Email me at email@example.com.
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