Practicing Law in the era of “Work from Home”by Abha Kashyap Managing Patner
Working in a white-collar job can be hectic and stressful. Sitting in a cubical in a stressed environment can make it all the more difficult for employees to remain focused, which may have a negative impact on their productivity level. On the contrary, imagine working in your own home; your office chair being your couch and your commute being the length of your hallway. Thanks to modern technology, this is no longer just a dream.
Today, almost every other organization is adopting “work from home” policy in order to provide the comfort and flexibility to boost the productivity of their employees. These policies also expand the ability of companies to hire a large number of employees without needing to increase the size or accessibility of their premises. For example, nowadays it is easier for the differently abled persons to find a suitable job for themselves – making them available for those employers that implement these policies.
Telecommuting also helps motivate employees by saving them the time and expenses of long commutes – thereby reducing the stress level of the workers. These policies are not only implemented by the High-Tech Industries and Enterprises but also by the Start-ups and Corporations operating in various other fields and markets.
Can lawyers work from home?
The debate over “work from home” policies in the practice law have raged throughout the blogosphere.The key issue is one of paperwork: the reliance on manual files can make firms incapable of remote practice. Despite the fact that paper heavy practices cannot be completely avoided in some areas of law, many companies have managed to go paper light recently as most of the data can be electronically stored. There are various options available to lawyers if they want to work from their home offices. Some of these career options to them are as follows:
· Working as a Freelance Lawyer
Freelancing is practiced in every other field. More and more lawyers are currently engaged as freelancers. Lawyers can now provide online legal services to their clients who need legal assistance, thanks to the era of technology! There is a high demand for the aid and assistance of lawyers online. Freelancing provides flexibility to such freelance lawyers as they can adjust their schedule according to their own convenience.
· Legal Writing Services
There are lawyers who can offer legal writing services based on their qualification and expertise. These lawyers can draft briefs, contracts, memo, etc or write research blogs on topics of law, website content and other web publications.
· Solo practitioners
Solo practitioners of law can work through their home offices, without having to rent out any expensive commercial office spaces for themselves. These lawyers can operate through virtual offices as well. This can be easily achieved with the help of SAAS applications which ensures the safe and secure exchange of communication between the clients and the lawyers, for example sharing confidential information and documents online.
· In-House Counsels
The in-house counsels work for a specific organisation in the corporate sector. These lawyers provide legal counselling to the management, represent the company in negotiation proceedings but they can discharge these services
Legal Services for the tech-savvy clients
Today’s youth grew up in the technological age, giving them the skills to make the utmost use of it. People nowadays, need the work done in the fastest manner possible and what’s faster than technology? Though the internet has improved our lives greatly, we still lack the ability to use it efficiently. There are many businesses that worry about losing their client base by going virtual – however, they needn’t worry. The internet not only makes it easier for companies to achieve their targets quickly and efficiently, it also help sclients by providing easier and more convenient solutions. The advantages of going digital will work for the legal industry as well. If any corporation, entity, individual or organisations have pending matters, new ventures, new disputes and legal matters, they can be resolved virtually. Let’s discuss how:
· Negotiation services
Negotiating a dispute with the help of technology can save you the cost and energy of travel or arranging premises for the same. It is exceptionally convenient for NRI’s and other foreign clients to avail online negotiation services, as they do not have to fly back and forth from one country to another. Furthermore, your plans needn’t change to accommodate the negotiation – you can still attend the proceedings even while on vacation.
· Contract Management services
Customers can now hire attorneys for drafting and managing contracts online. The approach of drafting contracts has been drifted in the recent years, from paper made contracts to E-contracts. These E- contract services not only make it easier for you to store the essential information online but there are applications that may help you secure your confidential information as well.
· Intellectual property matters
Clients need to have attorneys for their Intellectual Property disputes such as copyrights or trademark infringements. Though attorneys cannot avoid their court visits in order to fight the dispute, other tasks such as drafting, filings and sending legal notices, can still be done virtually. The government also provides methods through which routine disputes, objections and oppositions can be handled by the exchange of written arguments, reducing or removing the need for court visits. Methods such as telecommuting are more convenient to provide legal aid and advice than in-person meetings.
These are only a few instances of the legal services that the clients can avail. Other services may include, legal counselling services, memo drafting services, hiring a legal researcher for writing blogs and articles for your websites among many others. All of these services can be provided online with the help of a work-from-home attorney or a virtual law firm.
The Recent Pandemic and its implications on the “work from home” policy
Though there are various options available for lawyers to practice law through their home offices, these policies were not prevalent in the legal industry. Legal practitioners have always been dependent upon traditional practices and analogue infrastructure. It wasn’t until the recent outbreak of coronavirus cases that firms have been forced to work remotely. Since the affected countries are under a lockdown, businesses all over the world are left with no other choice rather to operate their businesses through their homes.
Be it the tech giant “Google” or the social media platform “Twitter” - all these companies are practicing through remote working policies as a measure to limit the further spread of coronavirus. These changes needn’t be temporary – the outbreak of coronavirus can make working from home a more common practice. It has been argued that if more companies follow in the footsteps of Twitter and Google, this could “shift workplace dynamics.”
Lawyers do not always need to have offices when they can work from home. Attorneys that need to meet their clients face to face, can do so in a dedicated space– however, this needn’t be a formal, full-time office. Attorneys can easily rent a conference room for a few hours or even meet clients in a café with a good atmosphere. Moreover, web conferencing platforms, such as Skype, Google Hangouts etc., help make communication and collaboration easier than teams talking face to face.
Corporations and individuals do not need to stall
their work or dispute resolution due to the lack of in-person meetings and the
traditional “office” setting. A trained professional can help solve the legal
matters, ensure compliances, handle deals and virtual dispute resolution. More
and more lawyers practice remotely as there is a wide range of options
available to them and their client.
Originally published on www.kpalegal.com on 10th April 2020
Created on Apr 13th 2020 00:02. Viewed 237 times.