Technology changes are affecting the legal industry as well and have changed the way of how everything works. Lawyers now have the possibility to work wherever they want to and still have a thriving career.
Can lawyers work from home? Yes, lawyers don’t have to be tied to an office to do all of their text-based work, sending and receiving emails, documents, phone calls or teleconferences. Sharing the documents can be done through secure cloud platforms, and all depositions and face-to-face client meetings can be done on an alternate location.
There are a lot of opportunities for working from home lawyers. Most lawyers take the traditional way of gaining the knowledge and needed skills by working in a prosecutor’s office or a law firm. And then pursue their own career by working from home and having greater control over their life-work balance.
Even if you are working in a law firm, you probably take some of your work home. So when you are your own boss, working from home, takes some discipline and proper planning to keep your focus on important things.
When working from home, make sure that you have access to everything you need, and how this type of working will affect your cases, colleagues, clients, etc. So when you find out what works and what doesn’t, you can be as successful as you are in an office.
Freelancing is possible in every field. Every type of job on this list can be done as a freelancer. There are more and more lawyers who are deciding on working as freelancers due to a wide range of online service for connecting lawyers and people who are seeking legal services. The benefits are well known, flexible working schedule, a better relationship with clients, the possibility to work remotely, the potential for higher income, and the possibility to work on various cases.
There are few places such as eLawyer, the Law Society, and The Lawyer where can be found freelance jobs, part-time contracts, short-term in housework, offering legal counsel and more for well-established companies.
Solo practitioners of law are tending to have more freedom and flexibility on the working hours the amount of time they work, and the place they work. Solo practitioners have the possibility of opening an office as part of their home, without having the need of renting out an expensive commercial space for an office.
Also, there is the possibility of opening a virtual office by using SAAS applications. These applications will provide a safe and secure environment for communicating with clients, sharing confidential documents and arranging meetings.
Working from home doesn’t make the lawyers less professional. Lawyers should always perform their legal duties with top-notch efficiency and should keep their professional appearance.
Telecommuting jobs for lawyers are usually part-time jobs and great for solo practitioners or freelance lawyers as additional income. Due to the advancements in technology, legal industry, same as any other industry is rapidly changing and a lot of legal services can be done by using telecommunications.
The lawyers who consider this type of job need to have great skills in negotiating and drafting commercial contracts, knowledge of data privacy, IP, handling compliance issues, litigation, real estate, etc. To do these positions, having an experience at a legal department or a law firm is a must.
These types of jobs are allowing lawyers to provide legal counsel to their clients, no matter the place. Some courts are even offering virtual hearings and case reviews.
Depending on the level of expertise, lawyers can offer different types of writing services as a way of increasing monthly income.
Writers of briefs - Writing different documents, drafting briefs, motions, memos, and more for the needs of a law firm;
Website writers - Writing blogs, website content or other types of online publications that require well-researched articles regarding the legal industry. Lawyers who are offering these types of writing services need to have knowledge of the best SEO practices;
Legal analyst - Doing analyses and delivering summaries of certain case laws;
Legal editors - Editing legal documents so they can be ready for publication.
In-house lawyers are lawyers that are working for a specific organization in the corporate sector. They are offering legal support for a great range of industries starting from finance, retail, manufacturing, construction to media, communications and many more.
These lawyers can be hired on a part-time or contractual basis, which gives them a lot more flexibility than the permanent in-house lawyers. Choosing this career path offers great diversity, but the lawyers need to be prepared to handle all types of situations including international law.
After gaining some experience working at a traditional law firm or some other law practice, you can easily think about working from home. By working with other lawyers, you can learn great skills and develop good habits. Also working in a law firm at first can help you in building a great reputation and a network of valuable contacts, that will be of importance when you start working from home.
Depending on your law practice, you will need to find a way of getting clients. Whether is by setting a website with details of yourself and your type of law practice, attending networking events, setting up business profiles on professional networking sites, creating ads for social media platforms, websites, TV, and radio.
In case you are a defense attorney, you can sign up to be on the list of public defenders assigned to people who can’t afford an attorney.
The statement that “lawyers need to have offices” is changing. After all, lawyers don’t work only in the office, they are going to courthouses, client houses, jailhouses, different job sites, and their homes. Lawyers work at home as well so they can keep up with all of the work. According to this lawyers can completely work from home using various technologies.
It is preferable not to meet your clients in your home. If you don’t have a dedicated area for meeting clients, you don’t want to hold meetings in your garage or kitchen. Also, it is not a very good idea of letting your client know where you live.
Sometimes you can hold meetings in your client’s house or some other place of business. You can easily rent a professional meeting place or a conference room for a few hours. Any place you choose for having formal meetings, such as depositions, should have enough privacy that your clients will be sure of their secure confidentiality.
If you expect your clients to show up in your home office, you need to make sure it is client friendly, separated from your living space, and private as much possible. This means that you need to make a separate entrance, so your clients don’t pass through your house, have walls and a door to ensure the clients' confidentiality as well as noise free, so you can’t hear your family chatting and vice versa.
Most importantly, you need to check the local laws if meeting clients at your home office is allowed by the regulations.
Investing in a good software program is essential if you are working from home lawyer. Especially if you charge by the hour, you will need a proper software program to keep track of your work and income. Also, you need to have a few online services, such as:
- Web-conferencing platform for communication with your client and staff, like Google Hangouts, Skype, etc.
- Cloud-based software where you can share confidential documents with your clients;
- Take advantage of Google Forms, as a great way for creating collaborative documents;
- Consider hiring a virtual paralegal;
- Have a dedicated office phone, without the need of paying landline expenses by using Google Hangouts
Additionally, you don’t have to buy different types of equipment that will end up sitting in some corner of your house. You need a printer/scanner, fax machine in case you have clients from the older generation and are not comfortable with scanning and emailing.
Not just for working from home lawyers, for everyone that is working from need is really important to set boundaries.
If you are available to your clients all the time, by answering emails and phone calls, they might get the idea that you are available to them 24/7, no matter if it's day or night. Setting your work hours and sending email only during this working schedule can help you with this problem. Of course, if it’s not an emergency call.
Also, you need to inform your friends and family that during working hours, you can’t hang out and chat with them. Just because you work at home, doesn’t mean that you are at home.
Another important thing is to know when to stop and dedicate your free time to yourself and your family.
If you need extra help with your work, but not enough space or money to create a team, you can hire a virtual paralegal. Virtual paralegals are legal assistants who are working as freelancers and are offering their legal support services online.
When you hire virtual paralegal, you need to make sure that they clearly understand your requirements. Whether you need them full time or part-time.
Check their credentials - No matter that you are hiring your paralegal online, you need to make sure that your paralegal has the needed certifications, either certificate for passing the bar exam or J.D. - completion of an educational program;
Availability - Since virtual paralegals are not physically present in the office, they can work for a few clients at the same time. When you need them for more hours than usual, make sure to inform them beforehand so they can plan their day;
Taking cybersecurity measures - When sharing sensitive and confidential information online, you need to make sure that both you and your paralegal are taking the proper cybersecurity measures. Because the most common reason for data breaches is employee negligence.
There are a few sites that are offering numerous jobs such as:
Working Nomads is offering multiple options not just for legal jobs, but from every professional career area. The jobs that are listed on this site can be done from home or some other remote location;
Indeed is considered as the #1 website for remote jobs. They are allowing their users to search for jobs for free, post their resume, and do research on the companies. Also, there are few filters available, depending on your salary requirements, experience, company, country and more.
Flex Professionals is one of the companies that is helping lawyers to find work from home, a part-time job in a certain industry;
InCloudCounsel is helping attorneys to find remote jobs with flexible hours and great pay. The company is collaborating with boutique law firms and individual practitioners, and match these attorneys with prestigious companies around the world. Although they have pretty high hiring standards, they are able to find you a work from home job that matches your practice area.
Lawclerk is an online platform where attorneys hire freelance lawyers. To apply to a certain project or browse through different freelance projects, you need to create an account first;
FlexJobs is another platform for freelance, remote, part-time jobs with a flexible schedule from all industries. All posted jobs are hand-screened for their legitimacy, so you don’t have to worry about scams. FlexJobs also offers different filters for filtering your results;
LinkedIn is a professional networking site that is employment focused and lists hundreds of freelance lawyers’ jobs per day. Through LinkedIn you can set up alerts to be notified every time a new position is listed;
Upwork is a freelance platform for remote working available around the world. They are connecting independent professionals with business and entrepreneurs in every industry.
CareCentrix - Assistant General Counsel - Healthcare (Remote) - responsible for providing legal advice on different areas of the business, negotiating important customer/vendor contracts, advice on HR matters, litigation management, and some other legal needs.
Reorg Research - Legal Analyst (Remote) - responsible for monitoring and analyzing pharmaceutical patent and regulatory disputes, writing updates and analyses on different disputes and important market events, attending court hearings to provide updates on case proceedings, etc.
Progressive - Attorney, Insurance Defense - Bodily Injury (Work at Home) - part of the insurance defense litigation team and responsible for preparing legal pleadings, statements, motions, trial briefs, negotiating statements, etc.
DebtCleanse Group Legal Services - Remote Solo Practitioners - become part of the company’s panel of attorneys. The company is offering advice and affordable alternatives to debt settlements, traditional bankruptcy, credit counseling services and more.
Rocap Law Firm LLC - Remote Legal Assistant-Paralegal - responsible for preparing pleadings and motions, document production, drafting requests, preparing responses, and more.
Kraken - Remote Litigation Attorney - responsible for providing assistance in all litigation aspects from case preparation, communication with case related people, reviewing and preparing documents, correspondence, and reports to managing relationships with outside advisors, assist in court proceedings, depositions, etc.
Junior Attorney - responsible for reviewing financial and loan documentation. The potential candidate must have 2+ years of experience, bar admission, and a JD degree.
Review Attorney - responsible for reviewing legal cases, prepare the needed client documents, assist on other relevant projects, etc.
In-house Lawyer - responsible for drafting and reviewing contracts, performing negotiations, providing legal counsel. The potential candidate must have four years of experience.
What is the difference between a lawyer and an attorney? Usually, both terms attorney and lawyer are used interchangeably. A slight distinction exists between these two terms even though in the United States that distinction isn’t made.
A lawyer is a person that is educated in the law. In the United States, a lawyer is anyone that finished law school. Whereas an attorney is a person that is educated in law as well but has also passed the bar exam. Attorneys just as the lawyers can perform basic legal functions plus be legal representatives of their client in court.
Attorneys can act like lawyers, but not every lawyer can perform the duties of an attorney.
Can you do tax deductions on your home office? Yes, you can, but you need to follow certain rules to do so.
- The space you deduct as a home office must be used only for work. You can’t use your spare bedroom as an office and as a guest room;
- The home office must be a primary place of business. You need to use it regularly. The IRS will take a look at the amount of time you spend working in that office, to determine if you can qualify your home office for a tax deduction.
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