Five Questions for: Jane Muir
Cristina Mas sits down with the president of the Dade County Bar Association.
Dade County Bar Association president Jane Muir is a Miami attorney whose practice focuses on business operations, transactions, and litigation. She has been appointed to serve as Receiver in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida, and she provides general counsel and drafts contracts to serve entrepreneurs and corporate entities. She is an “AV Preeminent” rated attorney by Martindale-Hubbell, admitted to practice in Florida, as well as the United States District Courts for the Southern, Middle and Northern Districts of Florida, and the United States Circuit Courts of Appeal for the Tenth and Eleventh Circuit. SocialMiami’s Cristina Mas sat down and asked her 5 Questions.
Did COVID-19 accelerate the legal profession’s transition to becoming more digital?
When I began practicing law, e-filing was not yet universal in our circuit. Electronic scheduling and submission or orders was just implemented recently. COVID-19 forced the courts to take the additional steps to adopt Zoom to hold hearings so that they could continue to perform their Constitutional function, which has been more efficient in many ways.
Virtual hearings, depositions, trials have saved attorneys time trying to find parking Downtown and driving to the courthouse for brief matters. Now, that time is being invested back into their clients and cases. I am all for making processes more efficient for both parties and hope this becomes the norm.
Many practicing attorneys, including myself, were early adopters of technology to streamline the administrative processes that expend time and cost clients money, but it was more of a challenge for the courts to do so.
Do you think law firms and therefore lawyers fare better in economic downturns than other companies and occupations?
It depends on the law firm. Usually when there are economic downturns, there is an increase in certain types of legal work like bankruptcy filings, business restructuring, foreclosures, evictions, and collections.
If an attorney or firm has expertise in these areas, and can do other work in a strong economy, they can weather a downturn. As attorneys, we are natural problem solvers with sharp intuition. Solving problems is necessary during economic downturns and peak economic performance.
Due to the pandemic, there has been a clear need for counsel on employment law, business restructuring and cybersecurity. Do you think we will see an uptick in law firms expanding these practice areas that are proven to be “pandemic proof?”
Many firms are expanding their practice areas to meet new needs and our “new normal.” With everyone working from home and spending more time on their phones, understanding cybersecurity best practices and legalities is crucial. There has been an uptick in high profile data breaches, fraud and ransomware cases which many attorneys and firms have capitalized on.
Additionally, with the election and COVID-19, ensuring your businesses social media, non-compete and workplace policies is a necessity. Many firms are expanding their employment law practices and bringing on attorneys who specialize in employment law for these types of clients/projects.
What are some professional and personal changes you have made as a result of the pandemic?
My practice was set up to permit flexibility because I believe that if you are responsible, you can work from anywhere with a laptop, telephone, and internet connection. We were well prepared for the pandemic with our files stored electronically and appropriate practice management software. The most significant change I made was working from home a majority of the time. However, I prefer working from office because it is easier to focus on my work without any distractions from my family or my dog.
How have you kept Dade County Bar Association members connected during a time when we should physically be spending time apart?
We have continued to hold regular events via Zoom and are working on getting the committees up and running with monthly organizational meetings. We hope these meetings will permit people to come up with good ideas for future events and presentations and engage the members in their committee activities.
Cristina Mas is the Owner and Founder of CIM Consulting, a company that allows her pursue a love for social entrepreneurship and positive growth. Today, she helps Miami’s top leaders and organizations to connect – across various platforms – and promote and grow their business in innovative ways each day. Mas has launched some of the city’s most innovative developments and impacting initiatives. Mas also continues to pursue her love for charitable activism. She sits on the Board of The Underline and is a Trustee for the Cuban American National Foundation and was most recently chosen as the youngest inductee into the Inner Circle of Twelve by the American Cancer Society and featured as a Miami Today Achiever. She attended Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart and graduated from Loyola University.