Contributed by: Jessica L. Whaley, Esq.
My road to becoming a practicing attorney has been anything but conventional. It started with me being a “night-student” during law school, which allowed me to work during the day gaining real-life legal experience. However, this also meant that law school lasted an extra year for me – turning an already long and tedious three years into four.
Following law school, I worked as a law clerk, first for an Insurance Defense Firm in Wilmington, Delaware and then with PWW Law in the Estate Administration department. While my goal always was to be a practicing attorney (that’s a story of let-down and triumph for another day), I am very thankful for the time spent in a law clerk role. It allowed me to figure out the inter-workings of each area of law in a slightly less high-pressure role, all while gaining practical tools and knowledge. This allows my recommendations as an attorney to be from real-life experience as opposed to other’s experiences or a textbook. Had I followed the traditional path, I would have never had the opportunity to spend the time in what I now realize is an invaluable role.
Finally, in January 2020, I became barred in Maryland, officially earning myself the title of Attorney. But just as I was assigned my first cases, the world was introduced to COVID-19 and suddenly, it seems like again, my planned path veered off course. This time, the untraditional nature of my life’s timeline is out of mine and anyone else’s control. I have learned from experience to take time to reflect and learn during times of transition, and this time is no different.
This time of uncertainty has prompted PWW Law to embrace several transitions. The majority of our team worked from home for the better part of three months while serving our clients through telephone and video based conferencing. Our regular in person education calendar moved to webinars so that we could continue educating our community. We certainly missed each other’s company in the office as we consider ourselves family, even outside office hours.
I realize that many people have had to face far harder transitions during this period of time, whether an unexpected departure from their work place or worst of all, losing a loved one in a time when grief and healing has become even harder to manage due to ongoing restrictions.
Despite the heavy toll this pandemic has taken on many of us, in speaking to clients over the last several weeks, even those who have lost loved ones, I have come to find a single theme: it will get better. As cliché as it may be, I have had more than few people offer that tidbit to me. The transition to that better place may not look like what we initially thought it would or we may be taken down a new path altogether. But from a person who has lived a life following some untraditional paths, I can zealously offer that sometimes the best lessons and knowledge come from the most unconventional moments in our lives. And if this is the case, I think 2020 has something for each of us to learn as we live in a time of transition.