The coronavirus crisis triggered a sudden shift towards remote work for millions of people all over the world. For the past few months, attorneys in the US and beyond have been adapting to this new way of working. In this guide, we’ll explore some of the most significant challenges of working from home and discuss some effective solutions for attorneys.
Communication is an integral part of the day-to-day job description of an attorney. You keep in touch with clients, other firms, and your own internal team. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has put a stop to face-to-face meetings and consultations, that hasn’t meant that attorneys have had to cancel or postpone meetings.
By taking advantage of virtual platforms and applications like Microsoft Teams, attorneys can continue to communicate openly with their clients and colleagues while working from home. Video conferencing facilitates group meetings and provides an opportunity to catch up on cases and updates. To communicate with clients, attorneys can use cost-effective, user-friendly phone solutions like VoIP systems that allow for increased flexibility by operating through an internet connection.
In essence, with access to this technology, attorneys can set up an office at home, enabling them to work effectively while social distancing measures are in place and access to communal meeting spaces is restricted.
Collaborative work is an increasingly important component of modern practice, with many attorneys taking on cross-practice cases and work becoming increasingly complex. Many firms champion collaboration and encourage colleagues to work together.
In an ordinary working day, this would probably mean organizing meetings and getting together to discuss progress and work on specific elements or look through documents. With firms closed and social distancing encouraged, new ways of collaborative working have emerged.
Teams can get together virtually to catch up and they can also take advantage of systems and software that allows for group working. Cloud solutions provide a safe, secure, and rapid means of accessing files, sharing information, and updating documents to enable teams to work efficiently without being in the same building.
Cybersecurity should be a priority for every law firm. Attorneys have access to sensitive data, and it is vital that clients can trust their attorney to keep that confidential information safe.
Remote working poses a security challenge for firms that are used to running networks, systems and devices in-house, but there are solutions. Two simple, yet very effective, measures that can secure many systems are to require the use of multi-factor authentication (MFA) and virtual private networks (VPNs).
Additionally, firms can provide cybersecurity training for their employees. All staff members should understand the risks of cyber crime, be able to identify threats and phishing attempts, and use secure passwords. This can transform your team from a risk of potentially disastrous human error into an asset providing another level of protection. Devices and software should also be updated on a regular basis.
One of the main concerns about working from home is reduced productivity. However, many people have discovered that you can actually increase productivity while working from home. If you have access to the right equipment and technology, set a routine, and are able to work without distractions, you should be able to get through a to-do list in the same way you would in the office.
The equipment you use can have a big impact on your productivity. For attorneys, it’s critical to have access to a reliable, secure Internet connection with suitable bandwidth via a VPN-enabled router and appropriate hardware and software.
It’s also beneficial to set up a dedicated workspace, preferably in a quiet location where you’ll be able to focus. Many attorneys are currently juggling work with parenting, or they’re finding that meetings are being interrupted by pets or a knock at the door. Where possible, it’s best to set working hours and establish a routine to get away from the hustle and bustle of the house.
One advantage of remote work is that it provides greater flexibility in terms of scheduling. Virtual meetings can be arranged around the needs of the individual and the wider team. Using software and scheduling tools can help you find times that suit everyone and prevent clashes.
Over the last few months, attorneys across the US have been organizing meetings and talking to clients via video calls and virtual platforms. Working from home might not always be an ideal option for attorneys, but there are solutions that promote collaboration, facilitate open communication, improve security and increase productivity.
Remote work might not stick for attorneys after the pandemic, but increased cybersecurity solutions and more efficient collaboration tools will certainly be beneficial for law firms even when employees are working from the office.
Finding solutions to the struggles of remote work might seem daunting, but a managed IT services provider could help lighten the load by optimizing your technology setup for you. By investing in the right technology and capitalizing on the benefits of innovative remote equipment, online tools, and resources, attorneys can adapt to effective new ways of working and remain a step ahead in the future.
For more tips on setting up a remote work environment for our law firm, check out our remote setup webinar!