As law firms across the country begin the process of returning to the office, some lawyers and legal support staff are resisting, preferring to move to a new firm rather than lose the perk of remote work.
At the start of the pandemic, the adjustment to working from home seemed to be difficult. Many attorneys and legal professionals expressed hesitation amid lockdowns, doubting that the remote model would work for their profession.
Now, partners, associates, and support staff alike have embraced the experience and want to make it a permanent way of life.
Remote Work = Increased Visibility
The urge to keep working remotely doesn’t simply come from its convenience. For many, working remotely allowed them to have more visibility within their firm and with clients.
An anonymous sixth-year associate at an Am Law 200 firm said in a recent article for American Lawyer, “I don’t want to go back to the office and the way things were before. I just don’t think I’ll have the same opportunity to contribute the way I have in the virtual environment.”
Some legal professionals, feel resigned to the fact that they will have to go back to the office. The consensus is that unless permanent remote positions start being offered at an increased rate, the return to the office is inevitable.
Hiring Remote Employees: A Competitive Edge
The firms that will allow for this flexibility will have a great advantage when it comes to hiring.
“The majority of the candidates we work with are requesting opportunities for remote work,” says Dara Webman, Executive Director of Green Key Legal Support recruiting. “While some of our clients are open to hiring remote workers, there doesn’t seem to be a 100% buy-in to the idea of remote work forever.”
However, many firms are concerned that ‘remote forever’ will put them at a disadvantage in maintaining a strong firm culture and in their ability to mentor younger staffers.
Generally these younger workers have a different, more open view to digital and remote working. They are much more comfortable with the remote environment.
The ‘New Normal’
360 Law Group is a great case study of how remote work can give a firm a competitive edge. The U.K.-based global law firm operates with a low overhead structure by hiring attorneys remote around the world on a consultant basis. In February 2020, the firm opened a dedicated U.S. business called 360 Business Law America. In just over a year, they now have a presence in 35 states.
Robert Taylor, CEO and general counsel for 360 Law Group, said that as lawyers are being told they must return the office, he’s had an influx of interest from associates to partners that want to find opportunities that allow them to continue working remotely.
“The whole market is changing. The big firms are not in control anymore,” Taylor said in American Lawyer. “Clients are driving changes in legal services, and they do not care if their lawyers are in an office or working from their spare room. Lawyers realize they don’t have to be at a big firm to do good work.”
Are you looking for a new law opportunity? Check out Green Key Legal Support’s open roles on our Jobs page. Filter for ‘Legal Support’ and ‘Telecommute’ to find remote legal work through Green Key Resources.