We have turned in the keys today to our long-time office space at The Enclave on Camp Craft Road. I just walked through the empty office and drove away from the office building that housed our law practice for the last 12 years. We looked at many options for new office space, and none were right for our new work-from-home model. So, in the spirit of being curious, we are opening a new door into the ether and going 100% virtual to see how we function without physical office space. I don’t know what the future brings, we may find we need a physical space, or we may find we are perfectly fine being a virtual office. What I do know is that now is the time to experiment and to be intentional about what our needs are and how to fill them.
As you can imagine, the move to a fully-functioning virtual practice is complex and intense. Most important to us is that we offer the same level of service to our clients so they continue to have a relationship they can count on with our office. We have made arrangements to offer our clients all the services we previously provided in our physical space, and we will continue to adapt and adjust to meet our client’s needs as they arise.
In other news, I received my first COVID-19 vaccination this week, and already I feel a weight lifted and am looking forward to the day we can meet up for coffee, lunch and drinks. In the meantime, I’ve set aside time in my schedule each week for one-on-one Zoom happy hour to connect and catch up. If you want to join me on the Zoom, I would love to spend time with you just being social. You should be receiving your Lazar Law masks in the mail. When you wear them out, send us a photo! And if we don’t have your current mailing address, let us know so we can get a mask to you.
See you in the Cloud!
When the storm hit last week, it wasn’t just the homeless who were without safe shelter, food or water. So many of us relied on our communities to take us in, share food, provide us with a hot shower. It was a shock not only to experience the lack of basic necessities of daily life but also to not have access to information about available resources. During the week, it was the mutual aid organizations that stood out as the go-to place for current information on available resources (like, what grocery stores have water and open warming centers) and for insuring that donations quickly were distributed to their intended recipients.
“Mutual Aid” is the sharing of resources, supplies and services from person to person without the mediation of government entity. Both Austin Mutual Aid and Mutual Aid Collective Austin were launched as COVID-19 relief efforts for those in need in Austin. Last week, they became digital community centers for Winter Storm Uri, organizing on the ground and through social media, to redistribute funds to people in need, organize supply drives and deliveries of food and water to communities impacted by power outages, freezing temperatures and water and food shortages, and to keep the public informed of available resources. They set up Google forms for those offering resources to add their information and for those seeking resources to find them.
Both Austin Mutual Aid and Mutual Aid Collective Austin serve as donation centers to accept the money pouring into the state to help. Mutual Aid Collective Austin’s fundraising platform, founded by a UT student, allows more speed and flexibility with donation distribution to avoid the strict limits on accepting and transferring money in venmo and cashapp. They set up Go Fund Me campaigns for specific targets.
The proliferation of grassroots mutual aid groups is a phenomenon born by the pandemic, and but for the pandemic, may not have been in place and ready to help when the storms hit. Digital communities are just as legitimate and supportive as the brick-and-mortar community centers of old. It’s the new wave of support and connection and came through big time for us when we needed it most.
To support Austin Mutual Aid: @austinmutualaid
To support Mutual Aid Collective Austin: @mutualaidtx
I LOST MY JOB! CAN I SKIP MY CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS?
Job loss is unfortunately a reality for many millions of Americans right now. Depending on your field of employment, you may not be able to find a new job right away, you may have to take a job that pays you less, or you may be receiving unemployment (a fraction of your prior income) for an extended period of time.