For most of us, the pandemic has been a time of change. Many switched to working from home with little or no notice; we were mandated to stay inside for most of the day and could not see the friends and family we rely on for support. But for three of the attorneys at McKinney, Bancroft & Hughes, there was an extra challenge in the form of a new baby.
Erin M Hill, Andrew C D Smith and Kimberley A Rolle explain what it was like to welcome a new addition to the family while living and working through a pandemic.
Andrew’s son, also named Andrew, was born in October 2019. Despite the restrictions of the pandemic, Andrew has felt blessed to spend time with his baby.
‘It’s distracting, which is good and bad. I love to play with my son. I love to see what he’s up to, I love to see his mind at work, I love to see him around the house.’
‘I have been blessed to have a newborn during the pandemic because it has afforded me an opportunity to spend time with him. My mother was not afforded that opportunity. She had to go to work in order to pay the bills and there was no flexibility with employers, whereas I can work from home. Now, I can watch my son grow, I can watch my son develop. I can spend time with him throughout the course of the day. I can just walk out of my study and we can do lunch together.’
‘I have enjoyed it, but at the same time, you have to also keep in the back of your mind, yes, you’re at home, but you have to remain working. You have to keep that work balance and maintain productivity and focus.’
Going forward, Andrew thinks that a hybrid of working in the office with some time at home would be great.
He has recently started going into the office once or twice a week when he needs to, such as for virtual hearings. He can use the office interface for the hearing and if he is second chair, he can be face to face with the senior lawyer, allowing easier collaboration.
He says that the firm has been very flexible and has always had a family approach since he started there. ‘They are a family firm and they appreciate that family is important. There isn’t a mechanical work environment.
Everybody is concerned about your wellbeing and the wellbeing of your family and concerned about the growth of your family. There is a blend of interest in your professional growth and in your family life. That’s been very important.’
His advice for attorneys who might be expecting a baby and will be looking to juggle their lives is to remain cognizant of the fact that there has to be a divide. He found it all too easy to simply keep working as he was no longer leaving the office at the end of the day. He recommends having a divide and keeping a structure between home and work life.
Andrew C D Smith is an associate at McKinney, Bancroft and Hughes specialising in matters relating to financial services as well as commercial law and litigation. His experience makes him an authority on issues relating to the Commercial Entities (Substance Requirements) Act. Andrew also makes time to engage with the local community and is a member of Phi Beta Sigma, a civic organisation focused on community service initiatives. Email: email@example.com.