Expectations v. COVID-19 Reality

By Patrick Crone | July 10, 2020

During my time in law school, one thing that has consistently been reiterated to me is the importance of adherence to the high standards to which lawyers hold themselves. Nowhere else is this more apparent than in the courtroom setting. Lawyers must dress and act in the most professional manner in order to obtain the best result for their client.

When I was hired as a law clerk at Rice, Amundsen & Caperton, PLLC, I envisioned being able to see this courtroom action firsthand. This was an opportunity to learn from nationally recognized divorce attorneys such as Larry Rice and Nick Rice and observe how they use their skills as lawyers. Those expectations changed when COVID-19 began affecting our daily lives. Now, instead of being in person at the courthouse, most of the work here is conducted in virtual courtrooms over Zoom. While it was not the picture I envisioned, it created a new learning opportunity that I never expected.

One of the most crucial skills a lawyer needs is the ability to adapt quickly when the circumstances change while maintaining high standards for legal professionals. COVID-19 has forced us to be distanced. Most legal work is now done virtually, and it can be difficult for many lawyers to adjust. Law professors do not teach us how to set up Zoom meetings or operate cameras and microphones. Fortunately, my undergraduate studies and previous work in journalism and broadcast media have come in handy during my time here. At Rice, Amundsen & Caperton, PLLC we have built multiple top-notch “Zoom Stations” with high-quality cameras, studio microphones, and large HD monitors. With my background, I was able to help put everything together. This serves as another small lesson for fellow law students: at some point, your undergraduate studies will be put to use, and it could be in the most unexpected circumstances.

It may be easy for lawyers to be lenient on the established high standards of the legal profession during a global pandemic, but that is not the case with the Rice Divorce Law. When I was helping with the construction of the Zoom Stations, Larry Rice reiterated to me that he wanted the firm to look and sound the best at each Zoom hearing. There have been continuous adjustments with the stations after each hearing, as we try to perfect their use. The Rice Law has used the effects of COVID-19 as an opportunity to raise its standards even higher. We do not just want to be good, or even great. We strive to be the best.

This blog is written by the law clerks and interns of Rice Law. They document their experience working with Memphis divorce lawyer Larry Rice and Memphis divorce lawyer Nick Rice, as well as other members of Rice Law. Rice Law represents clients in divorce and family law matters in Tennessee and Mississippi. We hope these blog posts will be interesting and show their evolution as they move towards being divorce and family lawyers. The statements in these posts should not be used as legal advice about divorce or family law.
Trying to use the aboutdivorce.com website as a substitute for a lawyer potentially sets you up for a disaster of epic proportions.