You’ve seen them on hit TV series Law and Order, the lawyer prepares for the courtroom sitting in an expensive leather chair at a monumental building in the big city. This is the industry standard required of a practicing lawyer, right?
Let’s examine a few career paths that allow lawyers to never step foot in an office and work from the comfort of their home.
As a solo practitioner of law, there tends to be much more flexibility and freedom over the amount of time they work but also where they work. When a lawyer works for themselves, they don’t have to follow the traditional path of finding a commercial office space
Instead, solo practitioners are able to open up their own offices in the comfort of their homes. Alternatively, lawyers can set up a virtual office. Setting up a virtual office uses a SAAS application which provides secure and effective methods to communicate with clients and arrange their appointments.
It should be noted that just because a lawyer works from home, it doesn’t mean they’re less professional. Lawyers should always maintain their appearance and are expected to perform their legal duties.
Telecommuting Attorney Jobs
The legal industry is rapidly changing and adapting to the advancements of technology. Some legal services are now providing access to license attorneys via telecommunications.
Telecommuting attorney jobs come on a part-time basis. They are ideal for freelance lawyers and solo practitioners looking to supplement their current caseload.
Lawyers considering this career path may require a strong ability in drafting and negotiating commercial contracts, handling compliance issues, knowledge of IP, data privacy, real estate, litigation, and more.
Often, previous experience at a law firm or legal department is necessary to obtain these positions.
Nonetheless, these jobs allow lawyers to practice law wherever they want while providing the proper legal suppose to their clients. Some courts have now begun to offer virtual case reviews and hearings. The old fashion attorney attending the courtroom may soon become obsolete.
Lawyers looking to increase their monthly income can become a legal writer. Depending on their expertise and skills, lawyers can provide a range of writing services.
Here are a few places legal writers are needed:
- Brief writers – research and drafting of briefs, memos, motions and other legal documents required by a law firm.
- Web writers – blogs and other publishing companies require well-researched materials related to the legal industry to be used on law firm websites and other online publications.
- Legal analyst – provide summaries of case law, prepare news articles and create other written papers.
- Legal editors – offer editing of legal documents to be used for publication.
Lawyers who wish to provide legal writing services should also understand the importance of SEO.
In-house lawyers, not to be confused with lawyers working from their home, are those that work as solicitors for in the corporate sector. These lawyers provide legal support for financial, manufacturing, utilities, retail, wholesale, construction, transport, communications, media, and publishing services.
As can be seen, the range of possible working experiences is vast. In-house lawyers are required to take care of the legal aspects of the organization. These lawyers may be selected and hired on a part-time, contractual basis which provides more flexibility than permanent in-house hires.
Choosing this style of legal career offers more diversity in the field of law. However, this requires a lawyer to be prepared to handle various situations which can include international law.
As well, more lawyers are pursuing a freelance style of service for these reasons:
- Flexible working hours
- Closer relationships with clients
- Ability to work remotely
- Potential for more earnings
- Opportunity to work on diverse cases
Becoming a freelance lawyer is also becoming much easier with the rise of online resources offering a place for lawyers and those seeking legal services to connect. Places like eLawyer, The Lawyer, and The Law Society are just a few of places to find freelance of in-house jobs in law.
Perhaps one of the biggest businesses catching onto to this recent trend in freelance lawyers is Lawyers on Demand (LOD). LOD is a fast growing company created by a law firm called Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP and a merger with AdventBalance. They have adopted a non-traditional freelance model of legal services which is dedicated toward providing organizations with the support required for their legal needs.
The kind of work you can expect with a service like LOD are project-based contracts, part-time in-house work, or offering legal expertise at a pre-established firm. This short-term and interim legal services offers new opportunities that cater for businesses with unforeseeable legal incidences.
Although it may sound unprofessional to think that lawyers are practicing law from the bedroom, the changes in technology and the effects it has on the legal industry has clearly changed the way things work.
Lawyers with the ability to work wherever they want are still able to:
- Complete all text-based work, including emails and document sharing, with their main office or in-house clients.
- Send and receive documents from clients and other parties. This can be achieved using secure cloud systems.
- Make voice calls and perform teleconferences.
- Arrange meetings with clients in alternate locations, such as a cafe or in the privacy of a client’s home.
Freelance lawyers offer an alternative and exciting new career choice for those who want to have greater control over their personal career. Possibly, lawyers working from home may become a rising trend in the near future.