@theEAWomenLawyersConference Entebbe 16 Nov 2017
Digital Lawyer: Establishing Routines (By Madeline Kimei)
I have a strong liking for innovation and due to this I have embarked on and developed several platforms aimed at changing the ways people approach complaints, disputes and workplace issues and thus improving access to justice. In 2015, I launched an online dispute resolution platform tagged “iResolve” (www.iresolve.co.tz). This e-platform is an attempt of embracing the new breed of virtual law offices where through tech your client engagement is just a click of a button! Due in 2018 is e-Worksolutions which is specifically designed to tackle the challenges of ensuring compliance to applicable labor laws.
It is true to say that we work in a dynamic world,.. “the Times a-changing” an article on lexology recently, which talked about why women need to support the digital revolution. You can see today’s young lawyers are leveraging their undeniable advantage: they’re considerably more tech-savvy than their senior Counsel, having grown up in the Golden Age of the Internet, smartphones, social media, and self-published content. Generally it seems that only young lawyers recognize the value of building online communities and understand that advertising, by its traditional definition, is dead.
Reality on work-life balance
I’m not so sure I can use the word ‘balanced’ because I normally do not have a pre- planned out day (even when I do try) and executed in correct proportions especially in our traffic infested roads and the African punctuality or turning up to meetings 2 hours later and still behaving as if you are on time. I would say I try to juggle everything as best i can. I wouldn’t advise this because the juggling challenge is that you might loose on your strategy so ensure you have in place a business annual plan or even monthly goals for you and your team. Since there will always be more work and personal commitments to fill your day, you have to consciously plan and set aside time to do this.
I have yet to come across any working professional mother who admits to have achieved work-life balance, I honestly believe that balance is an illusion. My take is that as the working woman we should embrace the challenge and don’t expect it to be easy. Nothing worth having ever is. Always keep in mind that careers, last for decades, and ups and downs are inevitable. Sometimes you will feel extremely balanced, and others you will not. In your own way you search out flex time, telecommuting, and the other things necessary to achieving work/life balance.
For me really, I believe that the most important factor in achieving balance in your life is finding your true passions. So, You have to care so much that the real question isn’t ‘how can I balance these interests’ but is ‘how could I not?’
I really can’t sit here and say that I have an airtight routine that enables me to achieve balance. I would be lying. But once I read the tag below my name on today’s timetable I sat back put away the notes I had and tried to scribble down my routine, mind you this changes drastically once you have kids. I have a 15months old daughter and 3 1/2 old son follows nothing has ever been the same. I used tech during breastfeeding and that is when I developed and created a platform that i use in my practice to this day https://iresolve.co.tz that enables me to communicate tasks and assign files and duties to my colleagues. The platform also enables my clients to log on and obtain all the information they require for their particular works, they can retrieve reports on tasks assigned to the practice and may also issue further instructions. This platform has really helped me manage time.
I navigate my day by working flexibly from anywhere by using my laptop or smartphone. It comes by handy if you can sync your devices. I use LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to update those who follow my pages and potentially my network of future clients. With Facebook I find that I have diverted from posting a lot of trash and now strategically working into a professional Facebook page with a touch of personal life stories. I also blog using WordPress that is directly linked to the company’s website where i can post pictures, articles and news. This enables me to keep my clients or potential clients constantly up to date.
In concluding, digital technology has enabled the rise of the flexible workplace. So I can work from almost anywhere virtually. With this advancement, the virtual law office here and it’s here to stay! Surely women (or men) don’t have to leave big firms or refrain from starting a practice ….. what matters most to happiness is aligning the work you do with the skills and strengths you love to use the most, and the values that matter to you.