Link To Guest Websites: Tarlow Breed Hart & Rodgers
Title: “The Complexities Of Remote vs. In-Person Teams”
Guest: Mark Furman – Tarlow Breed Hart & Rodgers
Interviewer: Nathan Gobes – Radio Entrepreneurs, & Peter Myerson – Author & Retired Attorney
Click here to read the transcript
Welcome back Radio Entrepreneurs, listeners, and fans. I’m producer Nathan Gobes filling in for Jeffery Davis this morning. I’m excited because back at my side, once again is Peter Myerson, retired attorney and author. Welcome back, Peter.
Thanks for having me, Nathan. It’s great to be here.
That’s great to have you. And of course, since you can see Mark Furman on your screen here, or if you’re on the podcast, you’ll probably see his name, which means this is another episode of entrepreneurship and the law with Mark Furman shareholder and director at Tarlow breed, hart and Rogers. Welcome Mark.
Hi Nathan. And nice to see my old friend Peter Myerson. It’s been a while.
So this is the way people see people in the clinic, you know, in the current situation.
Well, since I have two legal powerhouses in the virtual room here with me, I think we wanted to talk about some of the changes that COVID has had on business hiring, things like that.
Mark (1m 5s):
Yeah. I, let me just say that the changes have been profound, massive, really, and, and, and to a great extent, I think there will be changes that are permanent. You know, people are now talking about getting back to the office and many companies have gone in the direction of having required two or three days a week in the office. And the rest of the time you can work from wherever you’re most productive. And that’s quite a change because before COVID, it was the norm that people would be in the office every day, unless they were out of the office on business.
Mark (1m 55s):
And so there has been a dramatic change. I mean, my firm, as a continued the policy that we implemented, you know, after COVID where people can work wherever they can be most productive. And for some people that means coming in the office every day, for some people, it means coming in the office a few times a month or once a week. But for some folks they hardly ever come in. And I think it creates opportunity. I think for firms like mine, where if people are working virtually, you know, from a remote location, they could be anywhere.
Mark (2m 46s):
I mean, they could be in Indiana or California or in Germany or France because the nature of zoom has made it to, we can collaborate and work together without being in person. And, you know, I there’s some pluses to it. You know, the, I think it’s improved work life balance because it’s eliminated commutes, which for many people before COVID would be a, you know, an hour or two hours a day.
Mark (3m 27s):
So that time gets freed up. And it’s easy to schedule times when you need to collaborate where you all get together and have a zoom and go over things and you can share the screen and look at documents. And it’s, you know, in some ways very efficient. I think there’s a downside though, too, because there’s a, you know, you have a firm culture and, and you like to have interaction between folks who work together.
Mark (4m 8s):
And so to address that problem, we’ve, we’ve tried to increase the number of from social events. Some of them are on zoom and others are in person. We’ve had a magician come on and he does a virtual magic show. We’ve done it a couple of times. There’s a New York based magician who, you know, had an in-person show for decades and then COVID hit and he completely redesigned the shows so that it was, it worked on zoom and it was great.
Mark (5m 1s):
So in that we’ve had wine tasting wine and cheese pairings, trying to have fun. We played the equivalent of family feud on zoom, and we’re encouraging people to work together to, you know, plan get together as a group. So as, as you know, I handle, you know, disputes. And so the folks I work with, you know, we’re planning dinners and we’re getting together, you need to maintain that kind of firm tie.
Mark (5m 45s):
And it can be more challenging when you don’t run into each other, grabbing a cup of coffee or at the water cooler on a daily basis. But so like everything else in life it’s, there are pluses and minuses, but for certain people who do what I do, it adds a level of flexibility. I still go to court in person, but some court hearings are on zoom. And at the beginning of COVID, they were all ones. So, and so I hope that’s, you know, less important court hearings continue on zoom, but we’ll see, it’s not for me to decide, but, you know, I remember having a case in Chicago that the, there were status conferences regularly on the case.
Mark (6m 46s):
And that involved my flying into Chicago from Boston, for each of those at the time. And now something like that, it would be very efficient if that could be done on zoom, save a lot of time, a lot of money. And so, so I hope, I hope it, some aspects of, you know, this virtual work environment remain, you know, maybe someday we’ll be back in the office, everybody back in the office every day. But that day is certainly not here.
Mark (7m 29s):
Now, as far as my firm is concerned,
Nathan (7m 33s):
Martha, oh, sorry, Peter. I keeping on the topic of issues, something that comes to my mind that I wanted to get your opinion on is, you know, I know you talked about many firms or companies setting up, you know, two to three or so mandatory days in the office. I wonder if how that impacts, you know, maybe some of the executive team or business partners and whether or not something like that might end up getting baked into a partnership agreements. You know, you have, let’s say a business partner who expects his partner to be in the office maybe every day and another partner that doesn’t want to, you know, that’s kind of something that has never really been tackled, I think before in partnership agreements that we, that I wonder whether or not you think we might see in the future,
Mark (8m 27s):
You know, it hasn’t, it hasn’t been an issue in my firm. So I, I mean, I can’t speak for more broadly than that. You know, we have a firm management committee on it, we meet regularly on zoom. Some of the folks are in the office more often, much more often than, than other folks. So I think it hasn’t been an issue. I think people, you know, productivity, I think is really what people look at. And, and I think at the beginning of COVID, there was this fear that the sky was falling.
Mark (9m 11s):
The world was stopped and certainly in civil litigation, the courts were closed for months and all cases just froze. And, but since then, you know, I think the courts have reopened. The economy has withstood. COVID incredibly withstood COVID. And I think for many businesses in many industries, 2021 was, was a banner year.
Mark (9m 55s):
It was in, in the world of law. I mean, it was a very active year in terms of corporate transactions supported by low interest rate environment and strong economy, despite COVID. So, so I know that’s not just true of my firm, but as I talked to people in other firms, it seems to be true, basically industry-wide at least in, in the greater Boston area, but from what I’ve read nationally too.
Mark (10m 36s):
So I think there’s, so I don’t know how, you know, I’m working on my own cases and I’m available to help people if they need help on their cases. That’s what collaboration is within the law world. And I don’t see it being an issue in my world as to, you know, you have to be in the office, man, if you’re in the S if you’re in the sales world, you know, you’re never in the office that much, you were making the rounds and, and seeing your relationships and, you know, because marketing and sales is, is a contact endeavor where, you know, you have to be in contact with people, but what is different that I have found and, you know, I’m getting the partnership relationships, but you know, I now have clients who I’ve never met, not that I haven’t offered, meet them, but you know, they’re in a different state and, you know, they have a legal matter here and they’re not anxious to come here.
Mark (12m 9s):
And my personality isn’t good enough to, for them to want to come see me. And, and they have no interest in traveling to see them. So we just work together on the cases using the phone and zoom and email and all of that. And I’m not sure I ever represented people before. COVID that I hadn’t actually met. You know, it’s extraordinary when I look at, you know, the first, this pre COVID period of my career compared to now, but this is the world in which we live.
Nathan (12m 59s):
It is, it is.
Peter (13m 2s):
I mean, I would say in quick answer to your question, Nathan, it’s a practical consideration among partners who, you know, if, if one partner is really unhappy with another partner, they’re going to have to talk up. I don’t see how you can legislate it in a partnership agreement, particularly, although people will be thinking about that in a different way now. So my 2 cents,
Nathan (13m 30s):
Thank you. Well, that’s all we have time for on today’s episode of entrepreneurship in the law with mark Furhman mark. If people have questions of their own, want to reach out to you, what’s the best way for them to get you?
Mark (13m 42s):
I can be reached at 6 1 7 2 1 8 2 0 2 5 or my email and Firman, F U R M a email@example.com.
Nathan (13m 60s):
And Peter, if people want to get in touch with you or hear about your new book, you’re working on,
Peter (14m 7s):
Well, they can, they can look on, they can look on Amazon. And my book is listed there under my name, which is Peter Meyerson, M Y E R S O N. And if they want to reach me, they can, you know, send me an email at PP. firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s an old, you know, browser, you know, system, but it works for me. And I’d love to hear from anybody that’s read the book.
Nathan (14m 41s):
Great. Well, I want to thank you both for joining on radio entrepreneurs this morning. We’ll be back with more after this.
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