According to a survey from MyCase, a practice management company, 48% of law firms switched to virtual offices last year. This was a huge contrast to 2019 where approximately 70% to 90% of law firms operated from an office space, according to the 2019 ABA Tech Report.
There was also the transition to virtual hearings, which required lawyers to get comfortable with video conferencing, and resulted in teachable moments like the “Cat Lawyer” on Zoom.
Overall, the COVID-19 pandemic has been quite an adventure but thankfully, there were a few unexpected lessons that I learned, particularly about working from home.
(1) The traditional office isn’t as necessary as it used to be with the tech available today. I already mentioned virtual court but that’s only one side of the switch to remote work. As I practiced law during the pandemic, my team and I switched to using a cloud-based filing system and virtual office software for telecommunications. We also met with clients over Zoom or FaceTime.
(2) Clients liked having the option to meet virtually or in-person. Honestly, clients adjusted very well to the remote communication required during COVID-19. Some still preferred to meet face-to-face, and we made accommodations to do so while following legal safety protocols.
(3) Paralegals and support staff were able to seamlessly manage their personal and professional life. The transition to remote work was actually very helpful and made our team even more effective than anticipated. They were able to eliminate a 2-hour commute per day, which allowed them to focus on doing great work for our clients. Additionally, since our team members have kids, they were able to better manage their home and work life more efficiently. As a result, we’re going to implement a flexible schedule even though we’ll be returning to the office starting June 1st.
What’s the most remarkable lesson you’ve learned due to the pandemic?