Per the Data: Remote Work is Not a Phase in Legal

Is remote work merely a short-term necessity or will it have legs when it is again safe to work in the law firm office? As we head into one full year of remote work, I set out to see if there were data which would substantiate the direction of remote work.

What I learned paints a compelling rationale for remote work continuing. For some people, it might be for only one or two days a week. But the preference for a hybrid work model is clear.

There are two supporting dynamics:

  1. The economics of remote work were positive in 2020. Law firms will likely make changes, for instance in leases, to capitalize on this going forward.
  2. Attorneys made a positive adjustment to working from home and would like to retain some of that flexibility in the future.

In this post, I highlight a few of the interesting data points which I found. You can view and download (no registration) my full slide deck, “Remote Work is Not a Phase in Legal” here.

A key law firm financial metric is Profitability per Equity Partner. The results show that for Big Law and mid-sized law firms profitability grew significantly in the 12 months leading up to November of 2020. In part this was due to law firm rate increases established in December 2019 and to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), both on the income side.

Graph Profit per Equity Partner
Profit Per Equity Partner Growth 2019 and 2020

However, on the expense side, it is also due to law firms cutting overhead expenses in all but two categories, technology and Knowledge Management.

Graph Overhead Expense Growth
Overhead Expense Growth by Category 2109 and 2020

Both of the above charts are from a terrific resource, “2021 Report on the State of the Legal Market” by Thomson Reuters and Georgetown Law Center on Ethics and the Legal Profession. This report is chock full of data. I highly recommend reading it if you work in a law firm. And, as good attorneys say, “read the footnotes” for gems. You may also listen to the podcast, “Was the Pandemic a Tipping Point for Law Firms?” which is based on the report. Bob Ambrogi interviewed Jim Jones, Senior Fellow at Georgetown and Director of its Program on Trends in Law Practice. Mr. Jones is a contributor to the report. He adds interesting color to the report findings in this interview.

A funny thing happened while attorneys toiled from home. They appreciated the benefits. The greatest benefit to attorneys and staff is the time gained by not commuting. For time-keepers the extra hours per week can add up to several days per year of additional billable hours plus additional leisure time to boot.

Now 85% of attorneys want to work from home at least one day per week.

Image Remote Work
“Lawyers put in 20 extra work days when working from home,” Legal Cheek, Aishah Hussain, January 8, 2021

Finally, here is an infographic with a few of the more illustrative points regarding remote work in law firms. You may download the Remote Work infographic PDF here.

Remote Work is Not a Phase in Legal infographic

How does this compare to your experience of working from home this past year? What work model would you like to see going forward?

-Maureen

What happens when the document comparison in your app isn’t reliable?

We talked to DocsCorp about our integration of their high fidelity Word document comparison in our LINK app. We used their compareDocs SDK. It was a success for us and for our legal clients. This post is from their blog site.

Picture this: you are a lawyer who relies heavily on your devices to work outside of office hours. Perhaps you use the morning commute to fire off emails from your smartphone, or maybe you use your tablet on the couch after everyone has gone to bed and the house is finally quiet. While working on these devices, you use a secure app made especially for legal professionals. It has everything you need – access to your document management system, advanced search, Word editing and annotation, and document comparison.

Read the rest on the DocsCorp blog

Join our ILTA Roadshow in Washington, DC, Sept. 13th – Mobile Helix

ILTA Roadshow 2016 Washington DC.png

Mobile Apps – User Experience and Security

Can your lawyers work with iManage®, NetDocuments, SharePoint and the firm intranet from smartphones and tablets? Mobility for lawyers lives at the challenging crossroads of ease-of-use and security. We’ll look at top solutions used in legal today, covering topics including:

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Join our ILTA Roadshow in Baltimore, Sept. 14th – Mobile Helix

ILTA Baltimore Roadshow 2016

Mobile Apps – User Experience and Security

Can your lawyers work with iManage®, NetDocuments, SharePoint and the firm intranet from smartphones and tablets? Mobility for lawyers lives at the challenging crossroads of ease-of-use and security. We’ll look at top solutions used in legal today, covering topics including:

  • Trade-offs of mobile device management, secure container apps, virtual desktop infrastructure, virtual private network and browser access to SaaS applications
  • Top mobile workflows for lawyers (open an NRL file, check-in a doc to DMS, edit)
  • Demo of secure container mobile app designed for lawyers

Wednesday, September 14, 2016, 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM

Location

Gallagher, Evelius & Jones, LLP
218 N. Charles Street, Suite 400
Baltimore, MD 21201

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That one missing LEGO – opening an NRL in your iOS email with LINK

Have you ever noticed that sometimes something very small can get in the way of completing something big and meaningful?

LEGO red 2 x 2

Like when you open a new Lego set and later discover that there are 1119 / 1120 pieces there, and of course the missing piece is the little tiny one that goes right in the middle, so you already spent two hours building half of the Star Wars set – but now you need to stop everything and drive 30 minutes each way to the Lego store to get that one tiny 2×2 block.

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Mobile Helix ILTA Roadshow in Toronto, April 28th

Toronto, Mobile Helix and MicroAgility are thrilled to be headed to your beautiful city for our ILTA Roadshow on April 28th at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP. Mobile Helix and Toronto company, MacroAgility, are sponsoring, “Make the Most of iManage – New Features in Work 9.3 and Secure Mobility.”

ILTA Roadshow Toronto 2016-04-28

Join us to learn about Work 9.3 features from MacroAgility and about secure mobility for Work from Mobile Helix. We will show a demo of our LINK encrypted app for lawyers which integrates with Work, Outlook, SharePoint and the firm intranet. Enjoy lunch, education, and networking with peers. Registration is required. Details and registration here.

 

The FBI Cracks the iPhone – What Can Legal IT Do? From Mobile Helix CEO

By Seth Hallem, Mobile Helix CEO and co-founder

LegalIT Insider logoOn March 28th, the Department of Justice confirmed that it had successfully unlocked the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone 5C without Apple’s assistance. On that same day, the US government moved to vacate a California court order that had attempted to force Apple to assist in the decryption of the device. While the legal maneuverings are fascinating in their own right, the conclusion leads to an even more fascinating technology discussion – how did the FBI crack the iPhone, and what are the implications of this successful hack? Continue reading

Authenticate with Biometrics

By Ilya Dreytser

ILTA Authentication with Biometrics ILTA Spring 2016

You may not want to send that second factor SMS code to your phone.

The new ILTA Spring 2016 Peer to Peer magazine is out! View the HTML5 Flipbook or download the PDF here. Don’t miss Ilya’s article on page 42.

With today’s increasingly mobile-enabled workforce, receiving secondfactor
authentication tokens by SMS (text message) or by mobile app is
becoming completely ineffective. Is it time to bring back physical secondfactor
authentication tokens? Or is it time to move on to a biometric option?

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