The pandemic has impacted just about every profession with a need to telecommute, even those you wouldn’t think were conducive to working remotely, such as a lawyer.
While you can’t get around needing to go to the court from time to time, much of a law firm’s work is done from an office. Because of COVID-19, many firms have found that working remotely is possible, not just for those in charge, but their entire team.
A study of law professionals found that 67% of lawyers and law firm staff want to continue working from home even after the pandemic is over.
With the right technology support for your Chicago law firm, it is possible to run your law office remotely and be just as effective. Plus, enjoy some of the perks, such as:
- Higher productivity due to fewer distractions and interruptions
- Lower operating costs
- Safer environment for everyone (as the pandemic is still here)
- More efficient meetings (no one getting lost on the way to your office, etc.)
- Higher staff morale
- More time gained due to eliminating a daily commute
Prepare for Successful Remote Work as a Lawyer
Create a Remote Working Policy & Guide
One of the big mistakes that law firms make when deciding to have their team work remotely is to just assume everyone knows what to do, instead of telling them in a clear remote work policy and guide.
Without clear policies and guidelines on remote work, employees can get confused about expectations, such as how they let everyone know when they’re going to lunch or finishing work for the day.
Firms can also have problems with cybersecurity and things like shadow IT, which is when employees use apps for work without getting them approved first.
It’s estimated that 1/3 of successful data breaches happen through shadow IT.
It’s important that you work with an IT professional to put together a remote working policy that gives your team clear guidelines on things like communication, security, expected working hours, availability, and more.
You also want to have a clear meeting policy for your clients, so they’ll know what to expect when interacting with your firm virtually.
Set Up Managed IT & Cybersecurity
Securing sensitive documents and client information is vital for a law office. You also don’t want old technologyruining productivity (i.e., supply your staff with computers rather than asking them to work from their personal PC’s).
For everything to go smoothly with remote access to case files and video conferences, you want to ensure you and your team have the IT support you need.
Managed IT services are a great way to ensure this because they cover both device health and performance as well as cybersecurity through things like patch/update management, managed backup, antivirus, 24/7 monitoring, and much more.
Plus, you get the vital help desk support you need, so you aren’t wasting time struggling with technology problems.
Digitize Files & Set Up Easy Remote Access
Law firms are known for having rows of filing cabinets and paper files. In today’s world, files should be digital. With technologies like digital signatures, people can now e-sign documents rather than needing to sign in person.
You want to have all your client and case files in a secure cloud storage environment that everyone who needs to can access. This involves the following steps:
- Scan all paper files to digitize them
- Find a cloud storage platform that supports document security policies (do not copy, do not share, leveled access, etc.)
- Have document security policies configured along with access levels to help prevent data leakage and breaches
Set Up a Virtual Address & Mail Handling Service
If you are going to work remotely 100% of the time and close your physical office altogether, then you want to use a virtual office service to get a physical address you can use for your business with mail handling services.
These virtual office services will typically be in office suites and offer services such as:
- Street address (not just a PO Box) you can use as your official business address
- Mail forwarding services and incoming mail notifications
- Virtual receptionist
- Day office and meeting room rental for when you need to meet in person
Pay for Reliable Video Conferencing
While it can be tempting to use a free version of a video conference platform, you don’t want an important client meeting to get cut off because you’ve gone over a 40-minute limit on Zoom’s free account.
Pay for a subscription with a reliable video conferencing platform and test several out to see which one works best for your team. This will be one of the most important tools you’ll be using when working virtually, as smooth and clear online meetings are important and will help make the transition to remote meetings easier for you and your clients.
Get Help Setting Up a Successful Remote Environment
ProdigyTeks can help your Chicago law office put a technology infrastructure in place that supports successful remote interactions and keeps your data secured.
Schedule a free phone consultation today! Call 312-600-8357 or reach us online.