Telecommuting Is Possible for Attorneys

“I want to break away from my big law firm and practice law my own way”; “I am a solo practicing attorney and I don’t want to commute to the city every day”; “I want to spend more time with my family at home, but I don’t want to give up my law practice or take time off”, do any of these sound familiar to you?

Amata Law Offices has Office and Telecommuting solutions that will work for you. Yes, this is a promotion for Amata Law Offices, but who isn’t interested in finding a way to spend less time commuting, without taking a loss in income? Why should solo and small law firm attorneys continue to play catch up to their in-house counterparts?

There’s no question telecommuting has its’ pros and cons, but isn’t it more about having a choice? Marching to the beat of your own drum, isn’t that one of the big draws to working as a solo attorney or in a small law firm? A few of the pros for telecommuting include having the flexibility to balance work and personal commitments; many times there are fewer distractions at home allowing you to be more productive; and the days you don’t commute to the office you save time and money.

On the con side, e-mail and telephone communications do not generate the same kind of interaction; and spontaneously bouncing ideas off fellow attorneys is part of the fun of a law firm practice. At Amata’s 180 N LaSalle office one of the highlights to end many days is catching up with a few attorneys over a glass of wine in the Cognac room as brilliant attorney and masterful storyteller, Paul Goodman, makes me laugh for 10 minutes.

Other cons to telecommuting include individuals have to be extremely self-motivated, or else they can get distracted very easily. This is especially true when dealing with tasks you don’t like to do, such as putting together a marketing plan for your firm. There is also the feeling of isolation that may occur when you are not working around other people.

One of my best friends has a law practice in Chicago, with three attorneys and two support staff. A few years ago, he took a cue from me and moved just outside Chattanooga, Tennessee, but maintains his successful law practice in Chicago. He commutes in 2-3 days each week by plane, and works from home the other days. He schedules his court appearances and client meetings on the days he is in Chicago and gets most of his writing and legal research done from his home office. Now, of course he maintains his office at Amata Law Offices so he doesn’t have to waste his time with office concerns like what phone system to use, maintaining office equipment or services such as a copier, document shredding service, messenger services or mail machine and he always knows a professional staff member will be greeting his clients when they come to visit. He also has the added bonus of back-up support staff that are not on his payroll, keeping costs down, but ensuring he is able to support his clients when staff members are out sick or take vacation.

Jacob Morgan, in his article Five Things You Need To Know About Telecommuting, points out the debates around open vs. closed office space are absolutely pointless and I would agree. The real conversation should center around workplace flexibility. You didn’t become a lawyer to manager office space, order staples (after you need them for a brief and realize you are out), or to make sure coffee supplies are stocked. Most would say they became a lawyer to help people, practice a profession they love, and to take pride and honor in the work they do.

 

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Ron Bockstahler is the CEO of Amata Holdings, LLC and managing broker for Amata Realty Group. His companies have served the legal community for over 30 years and Ron regularly consults with attorneys on business development and space needs. You can contact Ron at ronb@amataoffices.com or call him at (312) 924-0204.