Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the transition to remote working has become the hottest topic in the legal industry this year. From private practice attorneys to Big Law executives, individuals across the corporate ladder have begun to embrace the virtual lifestyle. Remote working has proven to be a strategic advantage for law firms across the country, and many believe it is here to stay. 

If you’re contemplating taking the plunge, we’ve compiled a list of best practices for the transition to remote work:

Client Communication

When you’re in the middle of any corporate restructuring, transparency is the key to keeping your clients happy. Before making any significant changes, let them know how the transition will impact their case management. Be open and honest about your transition timeline while establishing that the move will not negatively impact your responsiveness or commitment to their interests. If you’re unable to speak to clients individually, consider sending a weekly email blast of relevant information. Although you may not be in the office, the emails will be a welcome reassurance that you’re still working diligently. 

Essential Equipment

Depending on your team’s size, you may need to devote some time to obtain the proper remote work equipment. Electronic-signatures will be particularly crucial to your workflow, so you’ll need to ensure that firm employees can access e-signature software when necessary. If your current method of Billing Invoice Memo (BIM) distribution relies on physical scanners, assigned timekeepers may need portable, in-home scanners. Finally, don’t forget to address security concerns. In some cases, you may need to ask employees to password-protect their devices, even from other household members. Treat this time as an opportunity to leverage new technology and incorporate them into your long-term business strategy. 

Invite Flexible Productivity

In the past, one of the biggest barriers to remote working has been that some management personnel believe that it will negatively impact productivity. Due to COVID-19, we’ve learned that office attendance isn’t actually required to provide structure and transparency. With a bit of preparation and understanding, you may even see productivity levels increase.

To set yourself up for success, work with your employees to define time management expectations. For example, you might reinforce daily time entry habits by sending out a daily team report that notes the amount of time entered by your timekeepers each day. This helps keep people feeling involved with the team. 

Final Thoughts

With a proactive transition strategy, your law firm can provide clients with the attention and representation they expect, even while working remotely. Better yet, if you remain flexible and adaptive during the switch, you can maintain or even increase employee morale and productivity.

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