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Powerful mobile devices, software-as-a service, and secure, web-based technology allow legal professionals to work from virtually anywhere. In fact, Burton Law dismantled the traditional law firm model turning it on its head by allowing its lawyers to practice in a geographically dispersed manner. By adopting this approach the firm was able to reduce overhead and inefficiencies associated with the traditional firm model, passing these cost savings to the firm’s clients, while at the same time providing the personal attention those clients expect. (This is all according to a recent LexisNexis® Case study.)
Is this however an atypical situation? Are more legal professionals working remotely from home or a virtual law office? After posing this question to the LexTalk community, we had an outpouring of comments about this topic where many members are working in a virtual environment with many employers supporting virtual workplaces.
Employers who support virtual workplaces
“I work from home all the time and I find that I can pretty much do anything and everything I need, including formatting of pleadings, etc. My firm is very supportive of remote access and virtual connections, which has been critical to me being productive and effective.”
Yet, most employees who responded are working virtually during off hours rather than during the normal business hours.
“I am set up to work remotely from home, but my firm does not really favor using it on a regular basis. (With two kids at home, I usually get more done when I am in the office anyway). However, it does make it easier to call in when I have to, and I think my boss is more accepting when I am not at work because of my ability to work from home.”
Productivity at home: Does it really exist?
“I am set up to work remotely but my boss is more old school and generally does not favor it. I only work from home when I have child care issues, etc... I think it’s very convenient to be able to work from home but honestly, I am not as productive at home as I am physically at work.”
What do you really get from the “normal” office environment?
“I work remotely every day – checking my email from home after dinner, before breakfast, etc. With Lexis Advance, I am able to conduct research from my home as well as on-the-go. Just yesterday, I did considerable research on my iPad while out of my office. Between my iPad, laptop, iPhone, and the cloud, I doubt there are any legal activities that I can perform at my office that I cannot perform on the road or at home. That said, the cohesive and collaborative nature of our office makes going to work a good thing.”
“Even though I work in a physical office, it does seem like work in the virtual realm is taking over. There are days where I spend more time collaborating with people in other locations than with the people down the hall. It's like the office is becoming a co-working space where we all just happen to work for the same organization (or its vendors, or its clients, or its consultants, so maybe not even all for the same organization).”
To other members of LexTalk, what do you think? Are more virtual law firms really popping up, or do you think the trend is still focused around the standard office environment?
For anyone interested in learning more about Burton Law, download the Lexis Advance Burton Law Case Study.