Resources for Connecting During COVID-19

Resources for Connecting During COVID-19

The pandemic has forced us to reexamine how we connect with others. Thankfully, technology has allowed us to create new virtual networking opportunities with colleagues, friends, and family. It is important to maintain those connections and establish new ones; otherwise it has been shown that social isolation can have damaging effects, both personal and professional.

Connecting with Colleagues

The Oregon legal community has shown its collegiality over the years, so it’s not surprising that many organizations have adapted their networking goals to conform to pandemic restrictions. Whether you are joining for professional reasons, such as to gain insight into a particular area of law or make connections with other attorneys for marketing or mentoring purposes, or you simply want to use it as a social opportunity, take advantage of the many legal organizations offering various types of virtual networking, such as list serves, videoconference meetings, and CLEs.
  1. Bar sections. The Oregon State Bar has a list of bar member groups focused on different practice areas and various groups of attorneys. Go to the bar sections website and see if there is a list serve you may be interested in signing up for, or an events calendar for CLEs or casual videoconference meetups. For example, in addition to monthly CLEs, the OSB Solo and Small Firm Section hosts weekly COVID-19 roundtable meetings via Zoom, usually with a planned presentation or topic of discussion. Go to the OSB SSF Section website for more information.

  2. Local bars. The OSB website has a list of county-specific bars located around the state. Joining your local organization can be a great way to connect with other lawyers in your community. For example, the Marion County Bar Association is hosting a “social distancing” golf tournament in August. Many of these local bars not only have options for connecting with others, but often have important information about the effects of COVID-19 on local court operations by posting presiding judge’s orders and other helpful resources.

  3. Oregon Attorney Assistance Program (OAAP). The OAAP hosts a variety of virtual support groups, including recovery meetings, transgender support groups, finding meaningful work groups, empowered women groups, depression and anxiety groups, grief and loss support groups, among others. Go to the OAAP website for more information about upcoming events, or contact the OAAP if you have questions.

  4. OSB Oregon New Lawyers Division (ONLD). The ONLD, which is a bar organization of which you are automatically a member if you have practiced six years or less, or are 36 years old or younger, is hosting weekly Zoom meetups. These are casual virtual gatherings, with no particular agenda. It is simply an opportunity to connect with your colleagues.

  5. Oregon Trial Lawyers Association (OTLA). OTLA is an active organization that hosts various online CLEs and provides a multitude of resources. They also have a long list of social events to be held via Zoom, including happy hour, an art and wine social, and an eKaraoke party.

  6. Oregon Women Lawyers (OWLS). OWLS is now hosting online check-in meetings for its members, with no particular agenda, just an opportunity to talk about anything of interest, such as issues with homeschooling or challenges working remotely.

Below are some additional organizations you may look to for virtual networking opportunities:
  1. American Bar Association (ABA)

  2. American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)

  3. Oregon Association of Defense Counsel (OADC)

  4. Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (OCDLA)

  5. Oregon State Bar Affinity bars 

Connecting with Friends and Family

In addition to maintaining communication with colleagues, it is important to stay connected with friends and family. Below is a list of options you may consider if you haven’t already:
  1. Virtual gatherings. Set up dinners, birthday parties, game nights, and other social gatherings via a videoconference platform such as Zoom or Skype.

  2. Streaming media. Take advantage of the streaming media options and share your experiences afterwards. Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, or Disney Plus provide many different TV show and movie options that can generate connection with your friends and family. There are also many options for streaming concerts and Broadway shows.

  3. Virtual museum tours. Museums around the world have begun offering virtual tours.

  4. Virtual workouts. Join a friend or family member for a virtual workout class. Many gyms and other types of workout facilities are now offering virtual classes.

  5. Virtual classes. Consider joining a friend or family member for a virtual class involving a hobby, such as cooking, painting, or crafts.

  6. Virtual book clubs. Many organizations have already continued their book clubs virtually. Or consider reaching out to colleagues or friends to start your own virtual book club.

It is important to be proactive and reach out to others using these different mediums. Don’t assume that people aren’t available or may be unwilling to connect. It’s likely the exact opposite, and people are craving the connection and will be open to any opportunities for social interaction.

Featured Posts