THE (NOT SO) LONELY LITIGATOR’S CLUB 6: JONATHAN EXALL
I have been looking for the experiences of newly qualified litigators, these have been difficult to find. Eventually I found one newly qualified lawyer I could “persuade”. Working as a solicitor at Chadwick Lawrence in Leeds – Jonathan Exall
Where are you working from now?
At home – Harrogate, North Yorkshire.
What has been most difficult about working remotely.
Life without the team. As I’m sure many of you will know already, the key to an effective department is to be able to make decisions together, quickly and efficiently. This can be a little bit more difficult when working remotely. However, I’m quite fortunate to be in a firm that encourages interaction with colleagues in the decision-making process and that gels really well. Planning is key to keeping the momentum going.
What has been your biggest technical challenge?
Rise of the platforms. Whilst the Courts have narrowed it down to two platforms, there are a number of platforms out there for work and different clients prefer different platforms. To name but a few:
Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp groups, text groups and Microsoft teams.
I have found that a midday notification check and clearance is required, if only to keep you sane!
Is there anything (work wise) that you wish you had with you?
My (bigger) desk. We have two desks at home however my partner (who happens to be a solicitor at a different firm) required a desk in a separate room. A bit of a debate as to who required the bigger desk ensued (she won).
What has been the most helpful thing you’ve learned.
Time management whilst working at home. The temptation to work now that the office is in the next room is huge at any time of the day including weekends. I have learned that switching off is just as important as switching on. I have a father that often burns the midnight oil so this has not been easy.
Do you think this is going to change the way you work in the future?
I think it will for everyone. Again, planning is essential. Sometimes large pieces of work can be done at home just as efficiently as they can at work. If you plan your week well, you can become more efficient. It can also be a cost saving and better for the environment. Have we forgot about Northern Rail or the Leeds ring road already!?
What is the first thing you are going to do when you are out of lockdown?
I am lucky to live and work in places that have fantastic restaurants and bars nearby. Meals out and drinks after work may become a theme for a week or two post lockdown.
[Editor’s note, that last answer was definitely the wrong one Jonathan. What you meant to say, I’m sure, is “I’ll go and see my mum and dad“. Anyway to put that right here’s a photo of you and me together from a while back…]