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Our tough times demand
tough (and kind) souls ...

By Jim Reed
Managing partner
Ziff Law Firm, Elmira

It is 5 a.m. and I am at my home computer. For more than a week, my law office has been closed and our dedicated team of lawyers and paralegals has been working remotely. We are doing everything we can to prevent the spread of coronavirus to our Twin Tiers friends and families.

We have been reading about coronavirus and we know it is much more dangerous than the flu. We know that the federal government should have done much more earlier in the crisis to contain this virus and should have mobilized critical medical resources long before this dangerous cat was out of the bag.

But we also know that now is not the time for finger-pointing. Now is the time to pull together as a nation, as a state and as a local community to support one another.

There is no doubt that the coronavirus, with its mandated business shutdowns, will have a huge economic impact on the U.S. for many years to come. Sadly, many businesses and families that were already teetering on the edge of economic survival will fail.

My own law firm I have spent the last 33 years of my life building into a solid business is facing its greatest challenge ever. The courts are closed for at least 45 days and the phones with new client calls have stopped ringing. I spend hours each day wondering how long we can continue to pay our hard-working staff of nine, who support nine local families, when there is no money coming in. We were smart during good times to put aside a "rainy day" fund, but even that fund will only last so long. We have never asked for or accepted a penny of government funding to support our business and we have no intention of doing so now. We will figure this out and we will survive.

But much greater than our concern for ourselves and our law firm is our concern for the many less fortunate local families and businesses teetering on the edge of survival. How can we help them?

First, buy local. To the extent you possibly can, buy from local businesses rather than distant corporations. My family is buying local beef, cheese, milk, eggs and bread. And most importantly, locally brewed beer and wine. :-)

Second, try to help your local community and neighbors in any way you can. Every little bit helps. My wife and I frequently hike in the Finger Lakes National Forest. We have been picking up trail-side and roadside litter on each of our walks. It's not a big thing, but it makes our beautiful area even prettier and that makes us feel good.

Third, call a lonely friend or neighbor. I am blessed to have family around me, but many are not so lucky and this quarantine has those living alone feeling very isolated and sad. Pick up the phone and brighten someone's day. This might also be a good time to reconnect with old friends and distant relatives. Too busy for that in the past? Perhaps now you can make time.

Fourth, take advantage of the quarantine downtime to learn a new skill or read a new book. Have you always said If only I had the time, I would do X? Guess what -- now is the time to do X!

And most importantly, keep your spirits up. Americans are tough and resilient. We WILL get through the hard times and emerge stronger. Who knows, maybe a nation bitterly divided by politics will learn we're stronger if we work together.

Hang in there! Better days are coming.

Thanks for reading,


Photos in text:

Top: Attorney Jim Reed,
Bottom: Jim in his home office.


Recent columns by Jim Reed:

NY has some good news for people renting limos

For Ziff Law Firm paralegal, helping is a family tradition

Do your homework and vote in the race for Schuyler judge

The Catharine Valley Trail is a jewel of the FLX

Seneca Lake boaters, do you have enough liability insurance?

Be prepared to act quickly after a motor vehicle crash

WNY snowmobile crashes put spotlight on dangers

Getting to the truth about medical malpractice cases

Recent column by Ziff Law’s Mike Brown:

Cayuta man and his family face many challenges ahead





© The Odessa File 2020
Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869