The Law Office of the Future: Technology & Flexibility

The Law Office of the Future: Technology & Flexibility

The common threads woven throughout all of these changes include an increasing demand for employee flexibility and the use of legal technology tools.


The workplace is changing, and the legal industry is no exception.

The infographic below lists some of the many ways in which the workplace is changing. The common threads woven throughout all of these changes include an increasing demand for employee flexibility and the use of legal technology tools.


A Georgetown University Legal Center project entitled Workplace Flexibility 2010 reported that 80% of workers say they would like to have more flexible work options, and would use them if there were no negative consequences at work. Employers are increasingly recognizing this trend. 

Employers see workplace flexibility "as a nexus of innovation, collaboration and a way to attract and retain top talent." - Jeanne Meister, Forbes

When it comes to telecommuting - it turns out lawyers have it better than the average U.S. worker. 73% of ABA lawyers report telecommuting some of the time. This is partially due to the "average U.S. worker" factoring in professions where telecommuting is not feasible, such as manufacturing jobs. However, the graph below does demonstrate that law firms, and their respective lawyers, are embracing the "work from anywhere" mentality... at least some of the time. 


Allens Arthur Robinson, Australia - A Case Study

The Sydney, Australia based big law firm of Allens Arthur Robinson has designed a dynamic culture that resulted in it being awarded the Australian Human Resource Institute's 2010 Award for Workplace Flexibility. The firm's new initiative has focused on "purchased annual leave, part-time work, job share, flexible hours, working from home and graduated return from parental leave." It is important to note that all of Allens' employees are encouraged to seek flexible schedules, it is no longer a parents-only issue. 

"Flexibility at our firm is a two-way relationship because our employees need different flexible work options at different stages of their lives."
- Dr. Abbott, Allens' Head of Flexibility and Diversity (press release). 

The Allens program has achieved the following results:

  • 20% of employees have formal flexible arrangements
  • 75% - 80% have ad hoc flexible arrangements
  • 96% of mothers return to work at Allens after maternity leave, up from 81%


Technology

A 2014 study conducted by MyCase surveyed solo-practitioners (57%) and larger firms (43%) about the role of technology in their practice. The report stated: 

  • 33% are likely to increase reliance on mobile technologies in the next year
  • 46% said word of mouth was still the best way to get new business
  • 64% agreed there is a connection between increased mobility and profitability
  • 73% stated they were moderately or extremely likely to increase reliance on technology in the next year