Can Lawyers Really Work Remotely?

//Can Lawyers Really Work Remotely?

In today’s connected world, remote work is possible in almost every field. For the legal profession, there are both potential profits and pitfalls in remote work. To achieve the best results, your firm should approach conversations about remote work thoughtfully and with an open mind. If you implement remote work policies this way, the positives for your employees and firm should outweigh any drawbacks.

Here are a few ways you can turn potential pitfalls into positives through strategic use of technology and improved employee communication while they work remotely:

Pitfall: Face-to-face client meetings are an essential part of the lawyer-client relationship. With lawyers working from out of the office, options for face-to-face meetings may be restricted.

Potential: Depending on the needs of your employees, it may make sense to have a remote work policy that allows for lawyers to work from home several days a week but requires them to come into the office for scheduled meetings on the other days. This allows for the necessary meetings while giving your team a sense of flexibilty and control that will increase their job satisfaction.

If members of your team work remotely from a more distant location, such as from a different city, this may in fact increase your options for working with clients. These attorneys or employees can lead work with clients who are in their own geographical area, expanding the area your firm can serve.

Pitfall: Legal work requires reams of documents. When lawyers aren’t gathered together in one office, the necessary documents become harder to access, and the possibility of confusion and miscommunication rises dramatically.

Potential: It’s time to go digital. With programs like Smokeball, law firms can securely organize and store crucial client files in the cloud and access every file, anywhere, all the time. Cloud-based digital filing makes remote work simple and possible. Smokeball also makes the operation of staff in the physical office more efficient, and allows firms to automate basic administrative tasks.

Pitfall: Remote work may come along with added costs when employees need to meet in person as a team or with clients.

Potential: If some members of your team work remotely full-time, your firm can save costs on office space, and apply the saving toward these costs. Programs like Smokeball can also help members of your team work efficiently on one project even when they are apart, reducing the need for travel and in-person meetings.

What other challenges has your firm faced with remote workers? How are you addressing them?

Want to make remote access to documents a reality for your office? Take the first step by watching a demo of Smokeball’s software demo of Smokeball’s software and see how case management software can change your law practice!

 Photo Credit: CQuadratNet via Pixabay 

By |October 16th, 2014|

About the Author:

For years, Josh has helped lawyers become more organized, productive, and profitable. A trained litigator, Josh came to Smokeball from a large east-coast law firm where his practice focused on franchise, insurance, marine, and general litigation. His work with Smokeball, and his continued passion for what he does each day, is driven by a desire to help lawyers and their staff do better in every way. Knowing well the stress and strain put on today’s legal professional, he regularly focuses on improving work and life in the law. He has traveled the country working with and learning from lawyers and their staff. Josh speaks regularly to bar associations about successful law firm practices and other legal topics. Recent notable engagements have been with the Chicago Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, and the Missouri Bar’s Solo and Small Firm Conference. In addition to his work at Smokeball, Josh serves on the Writing Resource Center staff at The John Marshall Law School. Besides legal technology, his research interests include judicial decision-making, jury decision-making and psychology, and legal writing. He has written and overseen research exploring causal effects of sex/gender on federal appellate court decision-making, and assisted with research for a forthcoming textbook on judicial decision-making. Additionally, Josh sits on the Board of Directors of Chicago-based Community Activism Law Alliance and on the Board of Directors of Chicago Fringe Opera Company. Josh holds his J.D., cum laude, from Washington University in St. Louis, where he served as a Senior Editor of the Wash. U. Law Review, held the prestigious Thompson Coburn Research Fellowship, served as Research Assistant to then-Vice-Dean (now Chancellor) Andrew D. Martin, and clerked at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. He holds a B.A. in Political Science and a B.M. in Music Performance with Honors Scholar distinction from the University of Connecticut, making him a Huskies basketball fan through and through. Follow Josh’s activity on LinkedIn, and keep up with new articles on the Smokeball Blog.