Looking back on 2020

Adapting to the pandemic: While it made life harder to manage, it also brought rewards.

Now that we’re securely in 2021, we can look back and see that we met the challenges and changes wrought by the coronavirus pandemic with mixed degrees of success. Like it did for everyone else in Bucks County and around the world, the pandemic overshadowed everything we did in 2020. And while it made life harder to manage, it also brought rewards
In the beginning of March we took home files, computers, printers and offices supplies and tried to maintain “business as usual”—helped immeasurably by the office phone connection I’d set up in 2019 to ring directly in my home office. Stacie, my Quakertown office administrator, and I learned some new IT skills, like Zoom and Google Chat, and discovered others we didn’t know we had.
Somehow, in the midst of all the uncertainty and learning new ways to serve our clients, we completed our website redo and launched it in early January. Besides aiming to bring the site into the 2020s, technology-wise, and make itmore informative and easier to navigate, we wanted to emphasize our local connections and commitment to our neighbors. Please check it out at LaboskiLaw.com and let us know what you think.
Dealing with the virtual courtroom
With clients’ cases unable to move forward under courtroom limitations, parties became increasingly willing to mediate cases. Not only were we soon participating in more mediation for our own clients; we were also asked to mediate more matters than usual. The difficulty was getting used to accomplishing this via Zoom meetings. Eventually we mastered “breakout rooms” and other features of the platform. Mediations are booming as the option continues to trend and the legal world adapts.
As other governmental bodies logged onto remote alternatives, we learned to conduct zoning hearings, planning commission meetings, depositions, and zoning and land development applications by Zoom—even while some municipalities continued to meet in person.
Developing issues
Despite the uncertain economy, many individuals and companies have continued to look to the future. That forward thinking brought us several notable land-use approvals to negotiate for our clients. A local automobile dealership group received approval from two different Montgomery County municipalities to redevelop existing properties to support their ongoing operations. We also won approval for a Jersey Mike’s sandwich shop franchise in New Hope and several variances permitted homeowners to buildswimming pools during the pandemic.
As interest grows for affordable homes on small lots—rather than McMansions on large lots taking up open space in rural areas—we’ve seen noticeably more development of “in-fill” lots in existing neighborhoods. It’s a trend we can get behind.
We continued to grow in 2020, adding several interesting new local businesses as clients, including a bus company, software development firm and disaster restoration contractor.
These new clients, together with our many familiar real estate, business and municipal clients, provide us with meaningful work and gratifying challenges—and reasons to look forward to every day in 2021. Thank you for trusting us with your important legal matters.
While we were writing this, the nation passed 500,000 deaths from COVID-19. We remember with sorrow those lost and with compassion the millions they’ve left behind to mourn and struggle in their new reality.