Mike Stein, Managing Partner at Pashman Stein Walder Hayden, was quoted in New Jersey Law Journal article, “‘Intentionality Matters': Day-to-Day Law Firm Management During COVID-19.” The article focuses on how law firm management styles and methods have changed and continue to change during COVID-19.
Michael Stein, managing partner of Pashman Stein Walder Hayden in Hackensack, New Jersey, said “priorities have changed, and the mode of communication obviously has changed, and the structure has changed.”
For Stein, the bottom line has not been the priority—”it has been protecting our employees in a time of unprecedented crisis,” he said. And that approach has translated to clients as well, in the form of frequent check-ins to offer help—legal and otherwise.
Stein, who considers himself an active manager, said the frequent Zoom meetings that have replaced in-person meetings are an “adequate but poor substitute.” Now a greater percentage of his time is spent reassuring employees and maintaining “the sense of culture and community that any firm worth its salt cherishes.”
“A lot of time has been spent trying to figure out how to optimize remote communication, and we probably have a long way to go,” Stein said.
While prioritizing the well-being of its lawyers and staff, Pashman Stein has pushed lawyers to enter their billable time daily, according to Stein, who noted that the firm has also encouraged, but not required, people to track nonbillable time.
“I was most concerned early on to understand how much work was in the office and … how productive people were being working from home,” Stein said. “We wanted to make sure we were doing all the things we needed to do financially while taking care of our No. 1 objective, which was taking care of our people.”
Firm leaders recognized early on that a significant subset of employees wouldn’t be as productive working remotely, but now the message is one of “awe and appreciation” that “everybody is hellbent on contributing” to the firm’s continued success, Stein said.
….Pashman Stein avoided layoffs and furloughs, while Schwabe instituted base compensation cuts earlier in the year before reinstating full pay a few months ago, according to Stein and Cowger, respectively.
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