Canadian Lawyer

May 2020

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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www.canadianlawyermag.com 25 appointed in the law firms that were unable to take advantage of that," she says. Being forced to work from home raised the issue of maintaining focus among new distractions — including children who were on the same social-distancing regime — and the mental health toll from physical isola- tion. It is important for law firms to build and reinforce those systems that keep people connected and engaged socially, says Ryan Baker, director of recruitment and profes- sional development at Bereskin & Parr LLP. "Seeing another person's face is something that you sort of take for granted when you work in an office," says Baker. Though seemingly a hassle, there is a hid- den benefit in a commute. It often involves a lot of physical activity and mental prepara- tion time, Baker says. "When you are going from bed to couch or bed to a little home office, it's very different," he says. The pandemic has highlighted the utility of law firm mental health initiatives, says Bereskin & Parr partner Isi Caulder. March's introduc- tion of social distancing happened to arrive directly after Bereskin & Parr's mental health week. It has continued to do weekly group mindful meditations and other social gather- ings over WebEx, says Caulder, who's a member of the electrical and computer technology prac- tice group, co-leader of the AI practice group and the leader of the Cleantech practice group. Moving to work-from-home has also high- lighted the utility of firm programs such as diversity and inclusion committees and men- toring, says Caulder. The sense of belonging fostered in these efforts has acted as a cohe- sive force during the transition, she says. Baker adds that the social separation gives impetus to proactively "go the extra mile" in reaching out to colleagues to check in and see how they are doing. "What's going on right now really just does remind you that your people are the most important thing that you have and our prior- ity — other than making sure that technology systems are in place and that client work isn't impacted — is making sure that our people are safe, engaged, happy and productive," says Baker. "If necessity is truly the mother of invention, I think what I'm hearing through the practice and through our firm and otherwise is that the practice of law will never be the same." Steven Cooper, Cooper Regel: a member of Masuch Law FIND LEADING CANADIAN LAWYERS The Lexpert®/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada is the most comprehensive annual guide to Canada's top legal talent, profiling the lawyers most recommended by their peers in 38 practice areas. You can use the guide to: Make informed business decisions Validate your choices Stay on top of Canadian legal issues In addition to extensive lawyer bios with photos, the directory also features: Contributions from leading practitioners across Canada Highlights of cross-border issues Recent developments in their practice areas When you are looking for specialized legal counsel, turn to the resource that showcases peer-ranked Canadian legal talent. Visit lexpert.ca/500 to find a ranked lawyer Lexpert - ALM House Ad_.indd 3 3/22/2020 12:06:53 AM

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