Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

A Day In The Life Of A Law School Dean During COVID-19: Song Richardson (UC-Irvine)

Karen Sloan (, Law in the Time of COVID: How UC Irvine Law's Dean Is Making It Work (From Home):

Song 2Mon, July 12, 2020
4:30 a.m.-5:30 a.m.:  Hit snooze a couple of times. Finally, get up after one of my cats (Crouton) licks my face over and over again with her sandpaper-like tongue. Go downstairs, feed both cats (Scratch and Crouton), give them their medication, and then make coffee. Drink two cups of coffee while reading and responding to emails that came in overnight.
5:30 a.m.–6:30 a.m.: Think about exercising and meditating, but do neither. Get ready for the day, keeping in mind I have a media appearance and other “public” events later in the day. ...
9 p.m.-11 p.m.: Prep for tomorrow. Watch one of my guilty pleasure shows with my husband. Respond to texts and emails. Go to bed and try to sleep.
11:15 p.m.: Receive a text and decide to respond. Then check my email. Attempt to go to sleep again. Remember to check that my alarm is set. Attempt to go to sleep again.

Lessons Learned

Having to work full time from home, while it has been extremely challenging, has also made me even more aware of the privileges I have. I am lucky to have work that I enjoy and that I can do from the comfort of my home. I have plenty of space so I can find a quiet place to work. I have reliable access to the internet. I don’t have children at home, and I have a husband who loves to cook. Overall, this experience has made me very grateful for my quality of life. Really, it is hard to complain when I put everything in perspective and realize how lucky I am compared to so many others.

Despite the advantages I have, not everything is easy or ideal. Given the sheer number of meetings I have each day, I can experience “Zoom fatigue.” But because I no longer have to build in time to walk or drive to a meeting, it is very easy to schedule back-to-back Zoom meetings and increase efficiency and productivity. After a few weeks of forgetting to schedule time between meetings to eat, to take a break to clear my mind, to prepare for the next meeting, to note follow-up tasks, etc., I have had to become intentional about making time for this on my calendar. Inevitably, however, my efforts fail because of unanticipated issues that come up on an almost daily basis. It is also more exhausting than I anticipated to be on the computer all day, especially the back-to-back online meetings.

It has also been challenging to separate work life from home life. I didn’t have much work-life balance before, but it is definitely worse now. There is always more that I can do. ...

Overall, I look forward to engaging with students, staff and faculty in person. However, I also look forward to taking the lessons learned during this challenging period to do things differently when we are back in person.

Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink


My dad used to say: "misery loves company" and I must say that I took some comfort in knowing that I'm not alone in this all consuming law deaning thing. :-) Thanks for writing this Song!

Posted by: Carla Pratt | Aug 25, 2020 10:57:24 AM