⏩ R.I.P. work email? #29
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This week: Work from home has not been good to email, and lawyers are being counted on for business savvy earlier in their careers. Plus: the sanitation worker who’s enrolling at Harvard Law this fall.
How many emails do you deal with every day? Researchers estimate the number for corporate employees is around 80, and lawyers may be on the higher end, given demands from both clients and co-workers.
But email-heavy lives may not be the norm in a few years. Although the obituary for email has been prematurely written over and over, the behavioral analyst Ben Bajarin has studied work-from-home trends and found that younger millennials and Gen-Z may be primed to truly stick the nail in the coffin.
His research is about collaboration: The firm he works for, Creative Strategies, surveyed a thousand people who have been working from home, focusing on how they communicated with other co-workers. During the pandemic, online communication has been more important than ever, and a bevvy of tools are available, ranging from traditional email to video chats.
For people over 30, email was still king: Bajarin found that age groups north of 30 considered Microsoft Outlook their main collaboration tool. That wasn’t the case for younger workers.
And the surprise winner for the under-30 crowd is….
Not Slack. Not Zoom. It’s the Google Doc. They considered the Google Doc to be the top tool they associate with collaboration. And if you don’t believe that people create Google Docs just to share messages, then you clearly don’t follow the teens. It has been a trend for the last couple years.
After the Google Doc, Zoom came in second, followed by the iMessage. Email, specifically Gmail, was fourth (Outlook was even further down the list). So folks in their 20s are more likely to associate texting with work collaboration than email.
If you loathe email, then brighter days may await. But if you just loathe being bombarded with any type of message, then the change won’t be drastic. It’s likely just heading to a different platform. Maybe. Email could easily outlive us all.
It used to be that the general counsel was the only lawyer who needed to think about long term business strategies. Now those skills are in demand among all staff attorneys, according to Law.com.
Mid level attorneys could once focus on traditional lawyer skills: They were supposed to research laws for the benefit of the GC. Their findings were typically filtered through the GC.
But companies have been overhauled: The GC now spends more time with the company board in a partnership role.
That means business is key early in a lawyer’s career: Which in many ways means not just studying the law but figuring out how to apply the law to the business. Susanna McDonald, chief legal counsel for the Association of Corporate Counsel, told Law.com younger attorneys need to know how to identify the laws that impact the operations of a business and how to navigate around them.
Communication also matters
With the GC spending time around the board, mid-level counsel will be speaking -- and listening -- to almost everyone else in the business. “With communication comes really good listening skills,” McDonald told Law.com. “I think that is where the emotional intelligence comes up the most; listening and understanding what an individual is telling you.”
Coronavirus has been speeding up change in many facets of legal and business culture. Expect the same here, especially because legal departments have had to wear more hats than ever these last few months. The type of attorney who can get lost in case law all day without interacting regularly with clients will likely only become rarer.
Rehan Staton got rejected from every college he applied to during high school. Now, as the Washington Post recounted in a great feature story, he’s headed to Harvard Law -- after years of picking up garbage.
After the college rejections, Staton needed a job: He found one with Bates Trucking and Trash Removal in Maryland. His co-workers were supportive and told him to reconsider trying to get a college degree. “The other sanitation workers were the only people in my life who uplifted me and told me I could be somebody,” Staton told The Post.
And the son of the trash company’s owner had a connection: He knew a professor at Bowie State University and put him in touch. The professor helped Staton appeal his rejection. He got into the school and maintained a 4.0 GPA.
Staton transferred to the University of Maryland: But his father suffered a stroke, and Staton had to keep working with the trash company while he attended college to afford his father’s medical bills. Staton’s brother was working with the sanitation company to cover Staton’s expenses.
After college he worked for a consulting firm and applied to law school
And he got into Penn, Pepperdine, Columbia, USC and Harvard. He is supposed to start at Harvard in the fall.
Since Staton’s story was published in The Post, several celebrities, including Tyler Perry, have offered to help pay for part of his law school expenses.
What else we’re forwarding
Jeff Bezos, other tech CEOs are talking antitrust with Congress today at 1pm ET: Bezos will face Congress for the first time and will be joined by Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai and Tim Cook. Congress cannot charge Amazon, Facebook, et. al. with antitrust violations, but it can make recommendations regarding existing laws. Watch live here.
Technology probz force two states to delay online-only bar exams: If you’re on Team Diploma Privilege in the bar exam sweepstakes, consider this a victory. At least two states trying to hold an online exam have had major issues.