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More Lawyers at Top Law Firms Are Working From Home

By William Vogeler, Esq. | Last updated on

For all the talk about lawyers lagging in technology, it's nice to see that many law firms are leading in at least one area: remote work.

According to reports, more than half of the attorneys at the best law firms work remotely. That includes partners, associates, and of counsel logging in from desktops and laptops at home.

"Remote work is the most popular flex option among both male and female lawyers at every level, and it is offered by all of our top firms," says Working Mother's 2017 Best Law Firms for Women.

Flex Options

At 17 of the law firms on the best 50 list, every attorney takes advantage of working remotely. Most often, female attorneys and of counsel use the flex benefit.

Deborah Rhode, a law professor and director of the Center on the Legal Profession at Stanford University, said that large law firms traditionally have high attrition rates. The key to retaining junior lawyers today, she said, it offering flex options.

"That way, reduced hours don't translate into reduced status and quality of assignment," she said.

Leading Industry

While more lawyers are working remotely, workers in some industries have not embraced the idea so much. Most companies allow employees to work from home sometimes, but fewer workers are doing it at all.

The Wall Street Journal reported that 22 percent of American employees worked remotely some or all of the time last year, down from 24 percent in 2015. They spent an average of 3.1 hours a day laboring at home, according to the Labor Department.

Meanwhile, some law firms are going completely remote with technologies that include "virtual hubs." According to American Lawyer, virtual firms like Culhane Meadows and FisherBroyles are breaking the mold at larger law firms.

Jamal Edwards, who used to work at a 300-lawyer firm, joined Culhane in part for the benefit of working at home. Now FisherBroyles, with 180 partners, is courting a partner with a $20 million book of business.

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