Mishell Kneeland interviewed for Texas Lawyer article on cultivating a proactive mindset in the face of uncertainty

In a recent article by Texas Lawyer, Culhane Meadows’ Austin office partner Mishell Kneeland asserts it is time for attorneys to demonstrate their value to their clients and firm in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Within the article, she provides important tips for cultivating the proactive, problem-solver mindset needed in this time of uncertainty.

Here are some excerpts from Mishell’s interview:

As the COVID-19 outbreak rages across Texas, forcing mayors, county judges and Gov. Greg Abbott to take the unprecedented measure of issuing stay-at-home orders, law firms have been forced to make extraordinary changes to how they conduct their business, according to a recent story by Brenda Sapino Jeffreys.

Despite all the obstacles and disruption to their normal operations, the quarantine also creates opportunities for firms to show their clients what they’re made of and how capable they are of remaining composed and handling business under pressure. Similarly, lawyers can prove their worth to their firms by showing how adaptable they are, even under extreme circumstances.

Mishell Kneeland, a partner at Culhane Meadows in Austin, said that although this is a scary time for a lot of people, lawyers must keep calm and carry on.

Now is the time to demonstrate your value to your clients and your firm.

“To be a good lawyer you have to always be asking, ‘How do I deliver the best service to my clients no matter what the circumstances are?’” Kneeland said. “So this is really going to give people an opportunity to show what they can do and how they can help a lot of their clients who are really hurting right now.”

In addition, Kneeland said, attorneys can make a lasting impression on their law firm colleagues by showing an ability to rally their teams remotely and get things done.

Now is also the time to embrace technology.

“If you are not very tech-savvy, this is a very hard time to be a lawyer because you have to learn the Blackboard platform, and there are teams you have to deal with that have done Zoom meetings, so learning these various platforms so that you can collaborate seamlessly is essential,” Kneeland said.

Questions You Should Be Asking as a Law Firm Leader:

Per Kneeland:

    • Where is your data located?
    • How easily, without the help of a consultant, can you transition to where you need your people to be no matter where they are?
    • What kind of security protocols do you have in place for that? Confidentiality needs to remain paramount; you can’t just upload this stuff all in Dropbox.
    • Are you using your IT people, consultant and vendors to help you with these things? You have allies and partners who can help you with this–it is an expense, but these are people who know how to do it and know how to get it done quickly, so you should use them.

The complete article can be found here.

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