In many ways, there has never been a better time to have a remote law office. An impressive array of tools and technology – which continue to evolve and improve – make practicing law virtually not only possible, but often more efficient, productive, cost-effective, and satisfying for both lawyer and client. Despite the advantages, switching to a remote law practice is frequently a big adjustment for lawyers and their colleagues, staff, and clients.

The pandemic forced law firms to rethink their traditional methods of delivering legal services, as well as managing employees and conducting law firm business. While it remains to be seen whether and to what extent remote work will become more ingrained in our legal culture, many law offices have discovered various tools that allow them to perform their work, provide client service, and connect and communicate from a distance. Admittedly, technology can sometimes be frustrating, and working from home brings its own set of challenges (as any parent of young children will tell you!). But client expectations have shifted, and the private practice of law may never fully return to its pre-pandemic form. Now is the time for lawyers to embrace the digital path forward.
 

The Basics: Setup, Tools, and Technology

Let’s take a look inside the world of the remote law office, starting with the basics of setup, and then explore tools and technology to improve your clients’ experience and enhance your practice.


How do I set up a remote law office?

If you are a new lawyer or are new to private practice, you may be just beginning to think about opening a remote law office. In addition to setting up your practice and implementing office systems (which the PLF practice management attorneys can assist you with), your start-up list will need to address the unique aspects of remote work – such as arranging your physical space in a home-based or virtual office; establishing a secure internet connection; accessing files and programs; communicating with clients; and handling phone calls and mail. The PLF has many helpful resources for your transition from bricks and mortar to the virtual legal.
 

Resources for Setting Up a Remote Law Office

Title Resource Area
Remote Access for Lawyers: Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) and Virtual Private Network (VPN) InPractice View
Phone Systems: What Works for Your Firm? InPractice View
Working from Home? Make Your Internet Work for You InPractice View
Tommy and the Secure Tunnel: Virtual Private Networks InPractice View
Working from Home: Basic Setup Tools & Resources Cle Class View
Resources for Working Remotely in the Age of COVID-19 Practice Form View

What tools and technology do I need to work remotely?

The answer depends on your law practice, individual preferences, client needs, and monetary constraints. Some lawyers are tech savvy and eager to adopt the latest gadgets and most comprehensive programs and platforms. Others are less comfortable with technology or simply can’t afford all the bells and whistles.

Whatever your tech tastes or financial circumstances, there is no one “right” way to set up your remote law office. You can create an optimal setting for you, your staff, and your clients – within a budget that works for your firm. As your time and money allow, consider the tools and resources below – from automated client intake to electronic signatures; collaborative word processing to mobile banking; client portals to electronic payment processing software, and more.
 

Tools & Technology for Working with Clients

Title Resource Area
Electronic Payment Processing Software for Law Firms InPractice View
Client Portals: Take Control of Client Communication InPractice View
Working and Meeting in the Age of Social Distancing InPractice View
More Than Just a Click: Automating the Client Intake Process Cle Class View

Tools & Technology for Your Practice

Title Resource Area
Electronic Signature: A Tool to Incorporate in Your Law Practice InPractice View
Collaborative Word Processing InPractice View
Oregon’s Remote Online Notarization Is Here—But Only Temporarily InPractice View
Resources for Connecting During COVID-19 InPractice View
Mobile Banking: Take Advantage and Tread Lightly InPractice View
Resources for Improving Your Remote Court Hearing Experience InPractice View
Harnessing Technology to Improve Your Practice Cle Class View