It’s official; we are going back to the in-person practice of law. Today and yesterday, I have had my first in-person depositions, and next week, my first in-person trial. I have to say, it’s like riding a bike, and my lawyer muscle memory is back. I am back to stacks of paper exhibits. It feels good, like my old self. But it has me thinking, what can we bring to in-person work that we did during the Zoom Era? Our staff this morning was scrambling to get piles of documents copied; what a colossal waste of time. Back in the Zoom Era, we had an entire file at our fingertips to screenshare, no copies needed, everyone looking at the same thing at the same time. Why do we need to go back to paper exhibits? Can’t we go back to in-person depositions or in-person court and have a paperless environment? I am really not looking forward to lugging boxes of exhibits to court with me next week. The practice of law needs to be paperless; not just our offices, but the entire industry. I remember teaching my advocacy students about the future of a paperless courtroom, and we had a mock paperless courtroom to learn in. That seemed like the Jetsons back then, but here we are, and we shouldn’t be going backwards like this.
Meanwhile, we continue to find new ways to be flexible in our office environment. When the power lines in my building crashed to the ground last night, I ran across the street to Firmspace, plugged in and kept working. Anyone in our firm has a place to work when they don’t want to work from home. Hybrid seems to be the key, and we are learning how to embrace flexibility and mobility. We are learning how to onboard new employees in a virtual firm, to allow us to build a team that doesn’t require everyone to live in Austin. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined this new law firm structure, and there is no guidance on how to do it. We are at the forefront of a new model, and with trial and error, I know we are going to make it work.
After our monthly in-person team meetings, the Lazar Law team typically likes to try a new local spot for a happy hour. However, this month, we felt like changing our routine and getting dinner instead. After much deliberation among the team, and Open Table, we landed on the popular Vespaio located on South Congress. Vespaio opened in 1998, and although “SOCO” is an impeccable location for a restaurant now, investors in the 90s were unsure about whether the restaurant would succeed based on location alone. Vespaio translates in English to “wasp’s nest” which is exactly what was found in the walls when demolition began to bring us the lively restaurant we know today.
When you walk into Vespaio, you feel as though you have left Austin and entered right into the heart of Italy. The smell of wine and pasta fills the air and instantly can make one’s mouth begin to water. The wine menu is seemingly endless, with options from a long list of regions. To start our meal, we ordered the Wagyu Beef Carpaccio served with capers, arugula, parmesan, and a horseradish Dijon. Inconsistent with the team members’ personalities, there was a sense of indecisiveness when it came to ordering, everything on the menu looks so appealing, so we also had to try the Antipasti. The Antipasti included pickled vegetables, a mix of olives, button mushrooms, and cherry peppers stuffed with prosciutto and provolone. Vespaio is currently operating on a Daily Menu, which guarantees that the freshest ingredients are being used. I ordered the Osso Buco, which was served with mushrooms and a heaping portion of pappardelle pasta. Order envy struck quickly when I saw the Bistecca Tagliata Con Patatine Fritte: hanger steak with French fries and sauteed spinach.
To end the spectacular meal, the strawberry sorbet was ordered as well as the chocolate mousse. At the end of a long day, it was nearly impossible to pass up the opportunity to try their espresso martini – which was one of the best I had ever tried. I highly recommend trying Vespaio and paying the unique restaurant a visit when you get the chance.
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