There are many lawyers working remotely these days. There seems to be a lot of media attention these days about lawyers working remotely. Right now, I am writing this article from England. It seems that every article I write is from a different country. Many of my friends are jealous of the fact that I can work from anywhere. They love the idea of a remote lifestyle while they work from an office 9-5pm and get stuck in traffic five days a week.
When I created our law firm, I wanted to distance ourselves from old school lawyers.
There’s always a joke that friends and family make about “where are you today?” As the CEO of ClearWay Law, I work remotely 100% of the time. All the lawyers that work for our law firm also work remotely. One of our lawyers is in Italy right now eating pasta during the day and exploring museums. At night, he works on marriage agreements for his clients.
While remote working is an important part of our law firm, we have other key points as well. Our law firm is digital, dynamic and flexible.
At the annual Clio conference, there is often a lot of talk about lawyers working remotely.
Digital means: Harnessing all our online tools to engage with the firm and our clients, while delivering exceptional client experiences
Dynamic means: Bringing a high level of ambition and engagement while creating amazing client results and experiences
Flexible means: Using our flexible work approach to provide clients with excellent results, while also achieving one’s desired work-life balance.
Working remotely has been fun for me, and I have been able to try various experiments. I slept in my office for a few weeks before our law firm went 100% remote. I wanted to try different things and see what worked best for my firm, clients, and myself.
You can see the article I wrote for Money Magazine about sleeping in my office. Half of the comments were very positive and half were very negative. It’s very interesting to see how divided people were over me sleeping in my office for a few weeks. I didn’t think people would care when I wrote the article. I was very wrong!
The Pro’s of Remote Working
While the benefits for a contractor are obvious, remote working is great for companies as well. Companies that allow it can save massive money on rent and pass on the savings to their clients or customers.
Even if you are working 50 hours a week as a remote employee, you can still spend your extra time doing interesting things in foreign countries instead of just going home and watching Netflix. Instead of watching a movie I can go to Buckingham Palace.
Another massive pro to remote working is that I save a lot of time by not having to go someplace traveling to and from work. But just like anything in life, it’s not all easy. The grass always seems greener on the other side. Is the remote lifestyle worth it? Most definitely! I consider myself an expert in remote working, because I have been doing it since I left the military many years ago.
Lawyers Working Remotely
When lawyers work remotely, they still have to hit their financial targets and their client satisfaction survey results targets. While they might get to pick their work hours, they will still have to work on their clients files and upload their hours to Clio. The lawyer will have to make sure their clients are happy with the service they received.
Is it easy? Not at all. You work all the time. When you are travelling, you can work from the pool or beach. But keep in mind, if you have a conference call, you need quiet.
If you are working from somewhere hot like Mexico, you can fry your computer. Just because you want to work in the heat, doesn’t mean your computer wants to.
Sometimes I have people come and join me in nice places like Florida. While I am on a normal “workday” the others are on vacation. This causes stress for me, they want to go to Disney Land, and I have a large project I need to finish. In unique situations like this, remote working can actually make the work-life balance harder to manage.
Working Remotely Can Be Lonely
Since my law firm is remote, there are times when I miss going into an office. I miss talking to people in the same industry, and just hearing about what they are working on. Having social relationships is important, you can find a way to do it while remote working, but it’s hard. I have many acquittances, but not a lot of close friends.
For example, in a few days there is one of my best friend’s baby shower. I can’t make it because I am on the other side of the continent. While he understands, it doesn’t foster close relationships.
I get jealous of weird things, like seeing a group of employees at Starbucks laughing together. They seem to be close and to know each other well. I don’t have that kind of in person connection to anyone at my law firm, because I rarely see anyone that works for me.
You Need to Be Disciplined
Remote work is not for everyone. Work is work; you must get it done. If you can’t be strict with yourself, like waking up at the same time every day, then remote working isn’t for you. Just like with anything in life, you can go down the wrong path, and that path is laziness with remote working. I have seen lawyers sleep in until lunch time. It’s only a matter of time until they get a law society complaint or get fired, or both.
I don’t have the kind of freedom where I can do whatever I want, I still must manage my law firm. The clients of our law firm don’t care where I am traveling, they want to get a resolve to their legal issues.
An entrepreneur is someone who works 60-hour work weeks to avoid working 9-5pm. I know it’s strange, and it’s hard to explain. But the thing I love most about being an entrepreneur is getting to pick my work hours. It’s also extremely exciting when a client leaves a good review, and I know we have helped someone with their complicated legal issues. Partly because of our law firm, their life is now better than it was when they first reached out to us. That’s exciting!
Author: Alistair Vigier