WCM’s 2020 Year in Review
At this point, more than enough has been written about 2020. COVID-19 changed the world, and how we all view it. When we left our physical offices in mid-March – and told everyone we’d see them the Monday after Easter – the prospect of working remotely for a month seemed like an eternity. Nearly ten months later, and well, here we are.
Despite the pandemic, Wade Clark Mulcahy LLP has continued to grow in 2020, as Bob Cosgrove and Mike Bono took the reins of WCM’s Management Committee. This year, Tom Decker, Bruce Magaw, Tom Bracken joined WCM as partners, while Vivian Turetsky was promoted to partner. Jennifer Seme, Debra Kuser and James Scott, joined WCM as counsel, and Paul Vitale and Matt Care, who have been with WCM for a few years, were promoted to the rank of counsel. In addition, with WCM having a longstanding relationship with the London insurance marketplace, WCM opened its fifth office location in 2020 – in London, England, with Jeff Weston as our London market representative.
As you might expect, we do not have any notable trial verdicts to report this year, because quite literally, there were no verdicts this year after mid-March in much of the United States. Social distancing guidelines and jury duty in major cities do not exactly mesh, and this dynamic essentially stopped jury trials altogether in New York, Philadelphia, and much of New Jersey. We anticipate jury trials will resume in late 2021, with a long line of cases ready to be tried – and WCM will be ready to get back into the courtroom.
But even without jury trials or in-person litigation, WCM has continued to practice effectively, in ways we had not envisioned before. In March 2020, very few of us had ever heard of Zoom, Webex, Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business, or the various other platforms that allow for video communication. We now use these platforms regularly, and in fact, have conducted dozens, if not hundreds, of depositions, examinations under oath, mediations, motion arguments and conferences, and client training sessions — all remotely. Perception of remote court proceedings has evolved from “science fiction” in March to commonplace just months later. Remote depositions, in particular, have been a much more effective fact-finding device than we had anticipated. And while we are all eager to get back to in-person legal practice, we think a percentage of remote proceedings – particularly remote mediations – are here to stay.
As members of the legal community, we are fortunate that this pandemic occurred in 2020, as opposed to, say, 10 years ago. Remote capabilities would have been completely inadequate; many firms would not have survived. WCM has not only survived, but has grown in 2020, which is a testament to sound planning, hard work, and tireless efforts by our IT director Eric Engelhardt and our operations attorney Chelsea Rendelman. We also owe Brian Gibbons a special thanks for doing all that he can not only to pen holiday greetings, but also for keeping our social media presence vibrant. Certainly, necessity is still the mother of invention.
As we enter 2021, the pandemic is by no means over; the winter months ahead require that we abide by CDC guidelines to mitigate risk and hopefully end the pandemic in the coming months. The medical professional community and essential workers deserve our unending gratitude for helping the world continue to function throughout these last months. Despite the present risk, there is (finally) reason for optimism. The CDC has approved vaccines, and distribution is underway. The close of this pandemic is now in sight.
And so, on behalf of all of us at WCM, here’s to a brighter and better 2021, when we hope to see many of you in person, get together for lunch, and who knows — maybe even shake hands!
With warm wishes for a healthy (and vaccinated) New Year,
Mike and Bob