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How are you staying connected while working from home? We asked LSJ readers to share their creativity. Here are some of our favourite responses.

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Tanya Chapman

Senior Associate, Catherine Henry Lawyers, Newcastle

I’m incredibly fortunate that I’m able to do most of my work from home, including being able to record, edit and publish episodes of my legal podcast Growing Stronger. When I am recording – speaking into a microphone alone in my office – I think my pets think I’m speaking to them and flock to me. It’s nice to have an avid audience!

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Juliana Warner

President, Law Society of New South Wales

Life has changed for everyone since the beginning of 2020. Many people had their employment affected by lockdown last year and that certainly happened to our daughter and son-in-law. And not long after that, we found our family home full once again and – even better – there was a Lockdown Baby (and our first grandbaby) on the way!

Our Lockdown Baby – Zander – has, of course, turned the house upside down, but we have rediscovered the joy of a baby’s laugh and the miracle of a little one learning what to do with his toes. Zander seems to love watching screens, even working from home AVL Court! Here he is attending a Supreme Court hearing (but only for a minute on his way to bed). And of course my screen was turned off and I was on mute…

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Legal Home Loans

Back to lockdown, back to virtual Friday Drinks for team Legal Home Loans! We love catching up and winding down from the week by sharing a drink over Microsoft Teams. Each Friday we have a dress and Kahoot! Quiz theme – this week was the television show The Office. Can you count the Dwight’s in this screenshot?

Each weekday of lockdown I have been choosing one of my colleagues to show some gratitude to in the hopes of brightening their work from home day. In the morning I would send the chosen one for that day a brief email. In it I would list some things about that person’s approach or support that I was particularly appreciative of, and how they have positively impacted my experience at work. The subject line read ‘Lockdown light – a gratitude series’. I’ve received very warm replies that have brightened my day in return.

Taylah Spirovski, Graduate-at-Law, HWL Ebsworth

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Belinda Hughes*

Director Prosecutions at National Heavy Vehicle Regulator

I know I look ridiculous! But with all three states, my entire team, in lockdown, sometimes a laugh and a smile goes a long way. Next week the theme is Disney!!

*dressed as The Flash

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Kate Thomas

Tipstaff to the Hon. Justice Lucy McCallum, Judge of the Court of Appeal in the New South Wales Supreme Court

“I am grateful to have experienced a very creative take on my graduation from the Australian National University, where I was recently awarded a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and a Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics. After COVID restrictions cancelled the ANU ceremony, Judge Lucy McCallum and our Associate Elizabeth donned their court robes and read out a ceremonial speech in order to “confer” me my awards, as my family and close friends joined via Zoom from my hometown in Western Australia.

Taking a moment to celebrate my graduation represented a significant personal achievement. As one of the first in my family to complete high school, I had moved to Canberra as an 18 year old from Western Australia, by myself and having never previously been to the city. I arrived with a suitcase and enough money for a month’s rent. Being financially independent at 18 and 3000km from home, I learnt a lot about resilience: about how to academically achieve when so much time was sacrificed working, and how to be self-reliant when there was no fall-back option. I am incredibly grateful to my friends and mum, the community at Bruce Hall and the distance running community to whom I can attribute so much of my success.

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Experts Direct

#lockdownexperts – Collaborative Spotify Playlist

Our team is strewn across Australia, Singapore, Canada and the Philippines; the time zones and cultural differences can make it tough to connect. However, as the inimitable Red Hot Chilli Peppers would say, “Music [is] the great communicator”.

Cue Lockdown Experts: a collaborative Spotify playlist – a whacky musical cacophony of joy, introspection, BTS, Hilltop Hoods, WAP, Lorde, Barry Manilow, Glass Animals, the Veronicas, Blackpink, (regular) Pink – all kicked off by Anderson Paak’s super smooth COVID classic, “Lockdown”. The playlist is now 11 hours long and growing every week.

Friday shout outs and value nominations – Respect La Famiglia

Every Friday, just prior to lunch, our entire team will gather online for a company update featuring key headlines from every department, followed by ‘Friday shout outs and value nominations’. This refers to colleagues who are living any of our key values: Respect la famiglia, baby you’re a firework, sharpening the spear, or pulling the rabbit out of a hat. You can only nominate one person each week, for meeting one or more of these values. At the end of each month, whoever accrues the most nominations will win a prize customised to whatever their like or enjoy.

Secret Santa Uber Eats – Buy a colleague their lunch! …with mildly disastrous results

Last Friday, we tried a team lunch meets Secret Santa…and it didn’t quite work out. Each of our Sydney team members was assigned a colleague at random; you were tasked with buying their lunch (reimbursed by the company). However, due to the wild uncertainties of Uber Eats, none of our food came on time, resulting in hangry colleagues awkwardly trying to make conversation while glaring at colleagues who were already eating. It was pretty funny – and shows that even foiled plans can bring a team together.

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Dowson Turco Lawyers

The lawyers from out loud-and-proud LGBT law firm Dowson Turco say they are managing the Sydney lockdown like true professionals. In fact, the firm’s managing partner Stacey Dowson said, “we didn’t change a thing!” since Sydney’s first lockdown.

Dowson says that since March 2020, staff have been trusted to choose which days they would work remotely, and which working hours they would work during the day – provided they attend the firm’s daily morning briefings, and manage client communication.

Dowson said, “If anything positive has come from this pandemic, it’s our closer relationship with our staff. We trust them to do right by us, and clients benefit from happier lawyers while we benefit from more purposeful communication and interaction.”

Pictured: Partner Nicholas Stewart on a video call with the team (plus Good Girl In Chief Daisy in background)