Stress Resilience in the Time of COVID-19: Tools and Strategies

On April 3rd, 2020, Mark Gorkin, “The Stress Doc” ™ and Estrin Legal Staffing, (a national legal placement company), joined together for a very timely webinar: Stress Resilience in the Time of COVID-19: Tools and Strategies. The audience was comprised of HR/Legal/Managerial professionals. There were 150 attendees for the one hour program. What made the webinar so powerful and effective was that the Stress Doc brings a lively, in-depth crisis/psychological perspective while Chere Estrin brings decades of experience in the area of HR/legal placement. The other source of vitality was the number of audience member questions fielded. We are already getting considerable positive feedback!

Dear Mr. Gorkin,
 
My name is Lupe Flores, Chair of the Legal Staff Support Group (LSSG) of the Consumer Attorneys of Los Angeles (“CAALA”) organization. Rose Gutierrez, cc’d above, is the Vice Chair. We both attended your webinar on April 24th and to say that it came at the perfect time would be an understatement.
 
As chairs of the LSSG, Rose and I are in charge of planning its education for the year which includes webinars and seminars for our members along with CAALA’s annual Las Vegas Convention. Our first year as chairs has imploded somewhat and everything has been placed on hold. There have been a few webinars from attorney members of CAALA that have discussed how to handle remote depositions and mediations, and how to keep your law practice going during Governor Newsom’s Safer at Home Directive. A couple weeks ago, we were asked to put together a webinar for the legal support staff but were advised that we may be past the need of addressing COVID and working remotely because people may have “figured it out” by now.  Consequently, Rose and I really had to question the validity of that statement because I know for myself, that is simply not the case. This past week has proven especially challenging for me. I thought that I had gotten into a groove and was starting to handle working remotely, accepting the rules of the “stay at home” restrictions.  However, when Monday morning came around, I found it especially difficult to get out of bed and as the week progressed, that feeling only grew stronger. It became evidently clear that we, I, don’t have it figured out.
 
While we are all going through the same uncertain time, our experiences our vastly different. While managing Partners, administrators and attorney are concerned with “keeping the lights on” and the overall functioning of a law firm, staff is worried about how to continue supporting their attorneys and staying relevant during this time.  Adding yet another layer of dimension, the various positions within legal staff (assistant, secretary, paralegal) also varies greatly and therefore it is becoming increasingly more difficult to assure people that things are “normal.”  Legal assistants, for example, are more task oriented and with their attorneys working remotely, they aren’t being assigned their usual tasks.  This coupled with the court closures and the inability to effectively move cases along has caused a huge amount of anxiety, stress and uncertainty.  We have heard from a few legal assistants that are greatly concerned about this and worry that they will be laid off. While we would love to allay people’s fears and reassure them that their jobs are not in danger, the reality is, we can’t say one way or another whether they will be laid off.   Nonetheless, we have been looking for a way to support the staff through their fears and insecurities and your webinar gave Rose and I the strength to recognize, acknowledge and deal with the uncertainty without having all the answers and this is exactly the message that our LSSG members would benefit from the most.  At no time in the webinar was it said that “you won’t lose your job” and while you indicated that it may happen, you emphasized that there are tools and ways to work through it and in the end, things will be okay.  From the beginning of this quarantine situation, this is the message that we both knew was important to share; we don’t have the answers but we still need to get through every day as best we can and things will be ok regardless of what comes next. 
 
After the webinar Rose and I spoke and discussed how re-energized and engaged we felt and how your message validated many of our own feelings of anger, mourning and fear.  It gave a perspective that neither of us had considered before and this is exactly what our Legal Staff Support Group needs to hear! All that being said, would you be willing to do a webinar for our members? If so, what would we need to accomplish in order to get one scheduled?
 
We look forward to hearing from you.
 
Thank you again for enlightening us.

Sincerely,
Lupe & Rose
 
 
 

LUPE FLORES
SENIOR TRIAL PARALEGAL

600 S INDIAN HILL BLVD. CLAREMONT, CA 91711
TEL: (909) 621-4935          FAX: (909) 625-6915

LUPE FLORES   

I find these webinars very helpful.
 
It is nice to hear how other people are coping with the crises and their techniques for working successfully from home.
 
Many thanks to you, Cherie and the “Stress Doc” for putting these together.
 
Lisa
 
Lisa M. Torres, Director of Administration

1880 Century Park East, 12th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90067
(310) 552-3400
Los Angeles | Irvine | Westlake Village | Las Vegas
www.gibbsgiden.com

Lisa M. Torres   

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