Out of office: working remotely
Legal technology not only makes the practice of law more efficient but also allows lawyers to work more flexibly. Many firms these days provide their lawyers with remote access so that they are able to work outside the office, as well as providing them with work laptops and phones as standard. This allows ‘agile’ working where the lawyer can work from anywhere with an internet connection.
For the law firm, there are several key benefits to using legal technology in this way. Allowing lawyers to work remotely, or at least more flexibly, gives them the opportunity to work around commitments outside of work, e.g. for parents with children or those with caring commitments. Giving the option to work flexibly is seen as a way of keeping lawyers happy, which in turn has a positive impact on productivity.
Allowing lawyers to connect remotely gives them the flexibility to work while with clients, while travelling or while in meetings, without having to return to the office. Lawyers are able to access electronic documents remotely, where once they would have had to come back to the office to collect the hard copy folder.
On top of that, the remote access element gives the business flexibility to reduce their floor space and implement a system of hot-desking. This is especially the case for larger firms who have expensive floor space in London and wish to reduce their overheads. They will want to maximise the space they have by making sure that it is used as efficiently as possible.
Flexible working is almost a completely win-win use of legal technology which makes law firms more profitable, while simultaneously allowing lawyers to work in a way that suits them. However, it also has the scope to negatively impact the work/life balance, especially for the more scrupulous firms with sizeable billable hours targets.