Within a week of March, the COVID-19 pandemic changed the legal profession more than it has done in the past decade. Almost overnight, many judges who previously insisted on personal status conferences now allow litigants and their attorney to check-in by phone. With files clogged up by downtime, the courts are experimenting with civil hearings via Zoom and promoting online mediation. In the meantime, lawyers practice remotely, virtually meet with clients and certify documents and argue online.
Fortunately, many companies have already seen the writing on the wall. A recent survey by MyCase shows that roughly 70% of law firms believe that COVID-19 will have a lasting impact on the way law firms function and function.
Just as coincidentally, many companies are ready for what lies ahead. The data MyCase collects is insightful: over 80% of the law firms surveyed have switched to remote working some or all of the time.
Remarkably, almost half of the companies surveyed moved home from the office in less than a day.
The ease with which businesses have transitioned into home practice suggests that prior to COVID, most businesses had the way but not the will to work remotely.
Remote work is here to stay, but what will it look like?
Remote working has come a long way in the past decade. Remote work will continue after the pandemic – if only because employees will make use of this option. In fact, more than half of the lawyers surveyed were unsure whether they would ever allow employees to practice in a physical office again.
Cloud-based practice management tools and online billing solutions are a key component of a remote workstation. However, the transition to the cloud is more the beginning than the end of the post-pandemic practice. More importantly, companies need to think strategically about how to maximize the use of cloud-based tools to anticipate the increased absences caused by COVID-19.
As attorneys get used to the distant working life, they also need to consider what kind of work culture they want to build over the long term. Some companies have chosen to replicate the office’s footsteps online by adhering to strict dress codes, strict schedules, and daily check-ins for employees – although evidence suggests the old-school approach isn’t particularly effective in today’s circumstances . Other companies have found that employees work better when dressed casually or trusting that they will get work done on time, even when they are outside the boundaries of the traditional 9-5 schedule.
Companies can take other measures to reduce the burden on lawyers and employees and to be more productive.
Twenty percent of attorneys surveyed said they had trouble meeting billable hour goals, at least in part due to difficulty focusing on a new home environment under the added stress of financial uncertainty. These are issues that lawyers can and must deal with for themselves and their employees. As many companies shrink their real estate space or move to cheaper suburbs, they can reinvest the resulting cost savings to buy monitors or other tech hardware for employees at home or to pay for employees who order lunch several times a month or attend online coaching and mindfulness sessions. These little amenities can go a long way in improving your focus and increasing solid morale.
We discussed how remote offices can affect lawyers – but equally important is what lawyers need to do to serve clients. Since many customers have been shopping, banking, and dating online for a decade, they are already familiar with online self-planning, filling out admission forms, uploading information to an attorney through a customer portal, making online payments, and online E-signing documents familiar. and communicate with their lawyer online.
Transition with ease
The Spodek Law Group PC was able to move to a completely remote company with little effort and manage finances, employees, customers, and cases with limited personal interaction. Learn how.