Attorney Spotlight: Pandemic Edition – Debbie Blakely

Facing a global pandemic and a resulting quarantine, workplaces across the country were forced to quickly shift to work from home. The change came with a litany of challenges for both employees and employers, as safety became the top priority, but there have also been surprise positive moments as well. As a firm, White, Graham, Buckley & Carr attorneys reached out to clients to assure them work was still being done – just from home. In this round of attorney spotlights, we share how our team adjusted to the shutdown.

Partner Debbie Blakely, who joined the firm in 2002, focuses on earning her clients’ trust so they know they can rely on her and the team during the most stressful times.

Debbie has extensive experience in representing clients in employment discrimination cases, including sexual harassment, gender discrimination, race discrimination, retaliation, and whistleblowing. In addition, she has successfully opposed numerous arbitration agreements against sports teams and well-known large corporations that have attempted to force their employees into arbitration rather than a trial by jury.

Read on to learn more about Debbie in our Attorney Spotlight: Pandemic Edition.

 

What was the biggest adjustment to working from home?

“I would say the biggest adjustment was getting the ergonomics of my home work area adjusted. My home office setup includes a foldable craft table where I had my laptop, extra monitor and keyboard. The first couple of weeks I noticed frequent headaches and neck pain. After some thought I determined that the monitors were not at the same level/height as my office and that was causing problems. I then raised the laptop with a shoe box and the second monitor with a yoga block.”

How did you choose where you’d work?

“I chose my living room because I could see out my glass front door and enjoy the beautiful yellow blooms of the forsythia. I also chose the living room because my dining room chairs are actually too tall for me and that would have been quite uncomfortable.”

What has been the best thing you’ve experienced in this “new normal”?

“I’m not sure what the new normal is yet. I feel like the rules/guidelines/restrictions have been in a constant state of change since this all started. If I had to pick one of the best things about the ‘new normal,’ I would say that it has been trying to slow down and enjoy things more.”

What has been the biggest challenge?

“One big challenge during quarantine was dealing with internet and Wi-Fi issues. We live outside of town and our service is not always reliable. Other challenges included being alone so much, as I was the only one in my family working from home, and missing my yoga classes since I prefer in-person classes.”

Is there anything you did more of during quarantine than before?

“I enjoyed how the quarantine slowed things down. We accomplished several overdue projects at home including a major fence repair, staining the deck and clearing brush. We spent more time outside on the deck together. I took the dogs on more walks during the day. I spent one week of quarantine picking up trash along the blacktop and gravel roads near my home. I spent more time on FaceTime calls with friends. Overall, I loved working from home. I had always felt that I would be too distracted to effectively work from home but I found that I was able to be very productive.”