Lawyers Tackle Covid-19: Johnine P. Barnes of Greenberg Traurig

The novel coronavirus and the disease it causes, Covid-19, are having an unprecedented impact on businesses and individuals, and law firms are doubling down to provide counsel and maintain the operation of their firms. In this series we're asking key questions of attorneys about how this global pandemic is affecting the work they do.

Johnine P. Barnes is a Labor & Employment attorney at Greenberg Traurig and a member of the 2020 Lawdragon 500.

Lawdragon: How is the coronavirus impacting your practice?

Johnine Barnes: The current crisis is impacting my practice by transitioning it to 80 to 90% compliance. I am assisting clients with compliance issues such as developing and changing laws as they address the effects of the pandemic on the workforce and businesses, for example, testing, furloughs and layoffs. Additionally, I am engaged in more cross-practice client work due to the varying subjects involved in the statutes addressing the effects of the pandemic on the economy.

LD: How is the coronavirus impacting your firm or the way you do business?

JB: My firm is working remotely, like most businesses. Navigating through this pandemic has made my practice more efficient in some ways as I am spending less time traveling and able to accomplish many of the same tasks by video-conferencing. I am able to get more work done with less traveling and also able to tend to many personal tasks that are left undone while traveling. Although, I still prefer the human interaction of my practice, and believe that the human interaction is essential to effective business dealings.

LD: What is your most important piece of advice for clients right now?

JB: Right now, I am advising clients to be flexible and stay patient. There is a lot that we do not know about the virus. Now that we have moved past the initial changes with social distancing and workforce management, businesses need to make decisions with long-term impacts in mind. This will require balancing medical and social sciences, constant changing practices and developing laws. The only thing that is clear in this pandemic is that this is going to be a marathon and not a sprint. And, we need to be prepared to cross the finish line together.

Visit our Covid-19 Resource page for a round-up of legal resources regarding the novel coronavirus.