Banner Default Image
Banner Default Image

The push to bring Lawyers back into the office

Back to Blogs
Blog Img

The push to bring Lawyers back into the office

​In the wake of the pandemic, many industries have grappled with the challenges of remote work, and the legal profession is no exception. While remote work initially became a necessity for legal firms to ensure business continuity, there's now a notable trend emerging: a push to get lawyers and legal support staff back into the office. This shift is driven by various factors, including the need to maintain a firm's culture, the importance of collaboration, and the inherent challenges in managing a legal team remotely.

Legal firms are facing the delicate task of finding the balance between allowing remote work and ensuring that lawyers are present in the office when necessary. While many lawyers appreciate the flexibility of working from home, there are certain aspects of legal practice that simply cannot be replicated remotely.

The College of Law, among others, has expressed the desire to bring people back into the office. One of the primary reasons cited is the importance of office culture. In a profession where relationships and networking play a significant role, being physically present in the office fosters a sense of belonging and camaraderie among team members. Additionally, there's a belief that certain opportunities and work assignments are more likely to be offered to those who are physically present in the office, leading to concerns about career advancement for remote workers (being out of sight and out of mind for managers).

From a practical standpoint, there are also challenges associated with remote work in the legal profession. This can be around work delegation, discussing issues on files, supervision and understanding capacities of lawyers and legal support when they’re working remotely. Furthermore, junior lawyers often rely on the mentorship and guidance of their more experienced colleagues, which is best facilitated in person.

However, the push to bring lawyers back into the office is not without its considerations for flexibility. Many firms recognise the value of allowing lawyers to work from home on occasion, especially for those who have demonstrated the ability to work autonomously and efficiently. This flexibility can boost morale, help provide relief from a long commute and work-life balance, while still ensuring that essential tasks are completed in the office.

Interestingly, the shift back to the office is not limited to lawyers alone. Legal secretaries and legal support staff play a crucial role in supporting legal professionals, do find that certain aspects of their work are more efficiently handled in the office environment but other tasks can be completed just as well from home. Quick turnarounds, urgent tasks and seamless communication with lawyers are often facilitated by being physically present in the office.

Moreover, partners within legal firms are increasingly taking matters into their own hands, becoming more self-sufficient rather than relying solely on support staff. This shift reflects a broader trend towards self-reliance and adaptability in the legal profession.

As legal firms navigate the transition back to the office, many are adopting a hybrid approach, allowing employees to work remotely for a portion of the week (most typically 1 day per week) while still maintaining a presence in the office. This approach strikes a balance between the benefits of remote work and the necessity of in-person collaboration and engagement.

While remote work has undoubtedly brought about its share of benefits and challenges for the legal profession, there is a discernible push to bring lawyers and legal support staff back into the office. Finding the right balance between remote work and office presence is crucial for maintaining a firm's culture, fostering collaboration, and ensuring the efficient delivery of legal services. As legal firms continue to adapt to the evolving landscape, embracing flexibility while prioritising the benefits of in-person interaction will be key to success in the post-pandemic era.

If you are looking for an employer who embraces flexible working get in touch with a member of the CoLegal team as we partner with progressive employers who recognise the benefit of having some remote working and flexibility.