Lawyers are great at asking questions, but how are they at answering them? Bloomberg Law is talking with lawyers and other legal industry players to find out what their lives look like in the age of work from home.
Russell Hedman, a senior associate in Hogan Lovells’ Denver office, works on M&A and investment transactions, with a particular focus on sports teams and entertainment venues. At the beginning of the pandemic, Hedman garnered attention among his Big Law colleagues for a song he performed on YouTube, “Stay at Home Hero.”
Bloomberg Law spoke to Hedman about his daily routine, how he’s helping clients navigate current challenges, and the role music plays in his life.
(Editor’s note: Remarks have been edited for clarity and length)
Bloomberg Law: Describe your day to day routine.
Russell Hedman: After I wake up, I walk my dog while listening to an audio book, and grab some coffee from a pick-up window down the street. I fire up my laptop around 8:30 a.m. and get to work. My wife, who’s a UX designer, is working from home, too, so we have to juggle our conference calls. I prepare a quick lunch for us, and then walk the dog in the afternoon for an hour. In the evening, I work on a music project I have with a private equity client. I’ll record a couple of audio tracks, send it to him, and he layers it. We usually work for a couple of hours. On other nights, I play Dungeons & Dragons on Zoom with some friends.
BL: What is the hardest thing about working from home?
RH: I don’t have a printer. There’s nothing satisfying about reading a 300-page document and having to scroll through it on an iPad. And the music room has now become the go-to place for conference calls.
BL: What is something your firm is doing that has been really helpful?
RH: The firm has been fantastic in handling the transition to remote work, and I think the experience has been pretty seamless for our clients as well. We’ve also been putting tremendous efforts into our Covid-19 hub to help clients assess potential impacts, which I think has been extremely helpful as everyone is trying to get their bearings on the current state of play.
BL: How have your clients’ needs changed?
RH: In this environment, our clients need nimble counsel to help manage all aspects of Covid-19’s challenges and opportunities. We’re pretty much constantly liaising with our global regulatory practice, including work related to FDA approval and trade, privacy and cybersecurity and other practices, and of course working with bankruptcy and restructuring teams as well. In the first phase of the pandemic, we saw a lot of clients grapple with supply chain and customer demand problems, as well as regulatory issues. Our sector focus has given us a pretty unique ability to help clients navigate issues, and sometimes we bring insight from one sector to another. A perfect example of that is bringing our life sciences lawyers working together with our automotive teams to help automotive manufacturers switch production from cars to ventilators. Likewise, luxury goods brands in our consumer sector, who switched from making handbags to producing to hand sanitizer.
BL: What kinds of technology are you using? Any challenges while working remotely?
RH: The iPad is a lifesaver. And having a nice pair of noise-canceling headphones helps a lot. With clients, a lot of work is still being done over the home. Internally, we do Zoom calls.
BL: What is your No. 1 piece of advice about working from home?
RH: Find a way to connect your cell phone to your office phone, otherwise people don’t know which number to call. You can miss out on work if you’re not connected.
BL: What’s your favorite working from home story that made you laugh, shake your head, or just throw up your hands?
RH: On conference calls, there has been some remote dog barking. My Lab-Shepherd mix has “spoken” to dogs in London, Tokyo, and other places around the world.
BL: What do you do to de-stress or take your mind off work when you’re trapped inside (or limited in where you can go)?
RH: I go to my music studio and make beats. We also live in a nice walking neighborhood, so my wife and I try to walk together when we can. I also work with a nonprofit called Youth on Record. It’s an alternative music education program for kids, and we help them to write and produce their own music. It’s a tough time for kids and musicians, so I’m trying to figure out ways to support them.