Technology, Growth, and Commitment: Working at Home and Reflecting on a 10th Anniversary
Written by Jim Worthington on April 26, 2020
I drove home from my office on Friday, March 13, 2020, knowing that schools and courts were closing due to concerns about the coronavirus. I remember calling a financial advisor that day to suggest that we postpone our business lunch for two weeks. We both thought that surely things would be cleared up by then. That lunch is now postponed indefinitely, until socializing can occur in person once again.
On March 24th, like millions of Americans around that time, I left the convenience of my office and began working exclusively from home. As I write this post in mid-April, I’m aware that both Kentucky and North Carolina courts will be closed at least through the end of May—six more weeks of #healthyathome.
Please don’t take any of this as a complaint. I’ve been extraordinarily fortunate in this unprecedented crisis. My extended family has been spared from the worst consequences of the coronavirus. My immediate family remains healthy, together at home, and we are all either employed or in school. The events we’ve missed are annual ones that we expect to enjoy next year, while so many other people have lost once-in-a-lifetime opportunities or even worse. With one child in college and one in high school, I’m especially sad for the seniors who won’t get to experience their last days on campus and may not even be able to celebrate the milestone of a graduation.
That good fortune extends to my professional life, too. I adopted cloud storage and “software as a service” practice management tools back in 2013. I certainly didn’t foresee then that I would need those tools to work from home for many weeks. (That wasn’t clear to me even a month ago!) But I’m so glad I invested in that technology and that I devoted the time necessary to use it most effectively. It enabled me to serve my clients conveniently and efficiently during the past years and has proved invaluable during this national shutdown. Moreover, it recently opened the door to an opportunity to take my client service to a new level.
Remote technology has allowed me to grow my firm by bringing on a long-time friend, April Sansom (whose LinkedIn profile is clickable), as a freelance paralegal. April and I began working together in 1992 in North Carolina when I was a brand-new attorney fresh out of law school and she was a relatively new legal assistant. We bonded quickly in our small, close-knit firm; we enjoyed working and learning together and became close personal friends along the way. I am beyond pleased that we have renewed our collaboration.
It’s truly a tale for the 21st century: while my offices are based in Louisville and Asheville, April works from her home in Philadelphia. Between cloud computing and video conferences, however, our work together is as seamless as if our offices were side by side. We learned months ago that modern office applications are geared toward easy communication and teamwork; once mastered, they actually make it fun.
I quietly marked my firm’s 10th anniversary on February 22, 2020. In developing my new firm’s website a decade ago, I vividly recalled my father’s business motto, “Knowledge, Dependability, and Attention to Detail.” I adopted that slogan for Worthington Law Firm, determined to live up to those ideals. As I reflect on those powerful words today, I am as confident as ever in the professional knowledge I’ve developed in over 27 years of practice. However, as a busy solo practitioner, I’m keenly aware that meeting the goal of timeliness with exacting attention to detail isn’t as easy as it sounds and sometimes requires a little assistance.
Adding an experienced paralegal to my team expresses my desire to turn these goals into rock-solid commitments. April brings 25 years of law firm experience, along with first-rate organizational skills and a perfectionist’s dedication to the detailed work involved in estate planning and administration. We share a commitment to communicating clearly and efficiently, educating clients about estate planning and administration processes, and producing work that is comprehensible to lawyers and laypeople alike. We thrive on projects where we can harness the power of words to express our clients’ nuanced needs with clear, concise legal prose—work that helps them protect their family’s future and support the organizations that add meaning to their lives.
As Worthington Law Firm enters its second decade, April and I are excited to have the people and technology in place to deliver Knowledge, Dependability, and Attention to Detail.