Where Do Lawyers Work Today? The Ethics and Acceptance of Working Remotely

Remember when working remotely was taboo? Several years ago, I published a piece here on Attorney at Work titled “Solo Lawyers: Where Is Your Office?” Back then, lawyers working anywhere but a traditional bricks-and-mortar office with their firm name on the door typically glossed over their nontraditional working environment. Over time, the taboo surrounding less traditional work setups began to ease, and early in 2020, when COVID-19 hit the world, the stigma had all but disappeared. Today, the tables have really turned, and the lawyer in the bricks-and-mortar office is the less typical one. With that context, today we can boil down the question of where lawyers work to a much simpler answer: Lawyers work wherever we happen to be. Working Remotely Was Once Unthinkable in the Legal Profession At one time, the idea of a lawyer working remotely — even from home — was taboo. As an associate in Biglaw, the idea met with horror and was only semi-acceptable if you were sick. Then, the partners’ options were to allow you to actually use a sick day or let you work from home while recuperating. Working from home was better than not working at all, but it was definitely frowned on. In small law firms, where lifestyle mattered somewhat more, there was pushback against remote teams, too. Lawyers would argue that they could not effectively manage their team from afar, or ensure their team was working. Also, camaraderie would suffer if people were not face-to-face every day. Even for a solo lawyer, working remotely was frowned upon. We had ideas that clients expected us in an office (even if they didn’t come to see us). Somehow we were not real lawyers if we worked from home or anywhere besides a traditional brick-and-mortar office. Besides battling an entrenched workplace culture,

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