I send a lot of emails. I don’t mean that I personally send a lot to friends and family — my output in that region is pretty slim as we stay in touch via phone and zoom and social media. I also don’t mean that I send a lot of emails in my professional capacity either; given that my practice is very limited and does not require a great deal of back and forth, I probably send fewer emails than the average attorney. Nonetheless, I send a lot of emails, perhaps as many as 50,000 a month. That’s because I have an unofficial role within the legal community promoting events like CLEs and law-related activities. Just today I sent about 600 emails to the local bar in the Roanoke Valley seeking volunteers for a “Wills for Veterans” event. Let me assure you that I am not a “SPAMMER” — these emails go to people who know they are coming and who know how to politely tell me (or actually, tell the list managing website I use) to take a hike and I always honor those requests (and not just because its the law),
So what’s the point of bringing up this topic? It’s because when you send a lot of emails you get a lot of automated replies and lately I’ve notice that a larger number than usual of these are informing that the attorney in question is no longer at that email address. Among the 600 or so emails I sent out just now, at least a dozen bounced back as “sorry, not here anymore.” Some had forwarding information advising that the attorney had moved to a different position, while most did not. I am not including among these the “dead” email address that are reported as not found, so these are attorneys whose former firms/offices are still going concerns, just without them being there.
Now, I am going to go out on a limb here and speculate that this may have something to do with the Pandemic. My theory is that the musical chairs among law firms and other offices (one firm I noted lost three attorneys, two to a different firm and one to public service) resulted from people either not adapting to the restrictions placed by the higher ups — either not allowing remote working or requiring it — or by simply having time to contemplate their position in life due to the enforced isolation. My own decision to retire from civil service was not entirely to do with the Pandemic, but it certainly was a factor in deciding to stay home for an extended period before venturing back tentatively into the working world.