May 01, 2020 The Management Issue

Managing Virtual Legal Teams: A Roundtable Discussion

Three experts offer their insights into best practices, unique challenges and rewards of virtual law firms.

Brooke Moore
Business team having discussion and online meeting in video call

Business team having discussion and online meeting in video call

filadendron via Getty Images

The face of legal services is evolving, as is the way attorneys provide legal help. Virtual law firm models are emerging as a way to better serve clients but also to resolve pain points many attorneys practicing in conventional ways struggle with: job dissatisfaction, inefficiency and work/life imbalance.

Virtual lawyers have flexibility in where, when and how they work. This translates to benefits for law firms: Virtual work can both reduce traditional overhead costs and allow firms the ability to attract more and better workers because geographical barriers are removed and more flexibility is offered.

Virtual and Remote Work Is Increasing

According to Upwork’s Freelancing in America report, freelancers made up 35 percent of the U.S. workforce in 2019. Of the freelancers who believed that the market has changed within the last three years, 77 percent said technology has made finding freelance work easier, and 46 percent said they would be unable to work due to personal circumstances without the flexibility of freelancing. The report also shows that younger generations are increasingly more likely to freelance, with 53 percent of Gen Z workers freelancing in 2019.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, “Remote work continues to rise in popularity as an employee benefit as well. The largest increase in 2019 was in part-time telecommuting, which is now offered by over 40 percent of organizations. … Ad hoc telecommuting is offered by a large majority of organizations (69 percent in 2019), and full-time telecommuting is offered by over one-quarter of organizations.”

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