Updated: Jun 17, 2020
Recently, a colleague informed me that the law firm she works for is just waiting to “get back to normal.” I am not sure what that means. I have had several conversations since with legal professionals that suggest that whatever the normal was will never be again.
For years, we have been told that administrative staff, especially legal assistants, cannot work from home. Apparently, that is not true. We have embraced the concept that rainmakers enjoy the biggest corner offices. But many were rarely in them. We have even accepted the idea that some legal functions cannot be performed outside of the courthouses and city halls. Yet, legal practitioners are creating virtual litigation platforms and the Supreme Court is holding oral
arguments via telephone.
So, instead of pining for a return to “normal,” maybe we should create a culture and environment where all legal team members flourish. Let’s do better than normal. What can you do right now to prepare your organization?
Technology: invest in the technical resources, both software and hardware, that allows everyone to improve performance and productivity remotely. For example, organizationscan ensure all employees have reliable access to the internet. Enable and use web-based applications that provide secure and seamless collaboration between lawyers and their clients. Acquire programs that manage and monitor time for all personnel.
Real estate: the biggest expense for most organizations is personnel and real estate. With large numbers of employees working from home, evaluate how much space is needed to service your clients effectively. While it may not be feasible that all employees work offsite, a hybrid approach in which support staff alternate days in and share office space and attorneys use the concept of “hoteling” to reserve offices and conference rooms as needed can be viable.
Training and technical support: retool training and support resources. Turn on
cameras during online training to create a fully engaged experience. Offer training
opportunities outside of normal business hours when learners are less distracted and can focus and participate. Another option may be providing in-person at-home technical support to set up home offices and connect equipment.
These are just three areas that can be evaluated to create a more productive and effective remote working environment, but there are many more. I hope I have provided a starting point so that you and your organization can reconsider how “normal” will look in the future.
Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www.getpluss.com for more information on how we can help with this transition.