During this time of uncertainty, people often find themselves asking, “What is the new normal?” As restaurants adjust to offering touchless menus and plexiglass dining barriers, your favorite locales are not the only businesses forced to evolve. Lawyers have also altered their usual routines to cater to the new normal that is remote, web-friendly work. In-person meetings and busy courtrooms are a thing of the past, thanks to an array of communication apps flooding the internet, but what legal implications come with conducting work through a screen?
Being both adaptable and compliant with state regulations and bar rules, lawyers must consider issues of confidentiality during virtual conference meetings and hearings, in addition to obtaining e-signatures and dodging whatever technical glitches may arise when working from home.
Selecting the right meeting and collaboration tools are just the tip of the iceberg that involve working remotely. Lawyers must make their own determinations about the appropriateness of transmitting certain pieces of information online, and must closely monitor staff working from home to ensure compliance. These “pieces of information” include private financial information, attorney client privilege communications, remote notarizations, and moving forward e-wills — and that’s just the start.
Along with protecting confidential information, timely response time is essential to providing the same quality of work as one would in an office setting. But, now that work can be done from home, does this call for work that goes beyond office hours, or does it require flexibility and non traditional working hours? Can business costs such as high end rents be cut, and these savings be shared with the client?
The list is endless about what legal and practical implications this pandemic has brought within these few short months. However, it is critical to find the right lawyer that can roll with the punches.