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3 Reasons Why Lawyers are Coming Back to the Office


Loneliness and isolation can set in with a continual at-home law practice.  Often isolated from friends and family, less-established lawyers may lack the same support structures that law firm leaders, partners or older colleagues benefit from, making them more susceptible to depression, anxiety, stress, substance use and other mental health struggles that are already pervasive in the legal profession.

So lawyers are trickling back to the office – sometimes the entire work week while others schedule three days in the office and two at home. Celebrating achievements and sympathizing over losses is back, along with the office sports bet.  Consulting with colleagues down the hall is also on the rise.  And needed.  Simply, two minds are better than one at times.

 According to a  Gensler survey, “only 10% of attorneys want to work from home full-time. A significant majority (74%) said they wanted to work from the office most days of the week. Of those who wanted a more flexible work schedule, most wanted to work from home only one or two days per week.

Avoiding Distractions

Most lawyers do not want to work from home full-time.  Working from a law office, even if the attorney has signed a sublease, several times a week, provides protection from personal and home distractions.  Just hearing the doorbell ring from delivery services such as UPS, and Instacart briefly breaks a lawyer’s concentration.  Dogs and children are another issue completely.  While there is a certain benefit of multi-tasking at home (doing laundry, making school lunches, mowing the yard, etc.) often these personal tasks signal a lawyer to delay that important more challenging project that should have been started first thing in the morning.  Instead, of yardwork or meeting the handyman.   Lawyers need peace and quiet to concentrate, produce deliverables, conference with other attorneys, and meet clients.

Face to Face Client and Colleague Meetings.  No doubt Zoom and Teams have provided a way for lawyers to connect with other lawyers and judges as well as communicate with clients.  However, nothing replaces the personal touch of a face-to-face meeting in person.  This is particularly important when an attorney has a sensitive issue (for instance, child custody cases, first tier issues for mergers and acquisitions, etc.) for discussion with clients.   

“The reason most lawyers want to go back to the office is probably not surprising. According to  a survey by Gensler lawyers miss impromptu meetings and interactions with colleagues the most. It is a lot easier to swing by a colleague's office to chat than to set something up on video conference.”

Meeting at a lawyer’s office also provides a sense of security to your client  - knowing they can find you and receive assistance builds client trust.  Working with other law firm staff including an attorney’s paralegal or secretary puts clients at ease when attorneys are servicing other clients. Conferencing in person also provides lawyers a better opportunity to explain complex issues (i.e. divorce disputes, tax-related transactions, etc.)  for conveying a clearer understanding of your client’s best interest.  A client now that the attorney will be acting on their behalf and will need the confidence about the attorney’s ability to produce a positive outcome which is generally more enhanced with  meeting such attorney in person.

  1. Lawyers' meeting in the law office or LawSpace within a law office preserves the precious attorney-client privilege.   The risk of having virtual meetings with  clients may be risky.  After all, who else is present on the zoom meeting that may break attorney-client privileged?  The general rule is that by allowing a third party to be present g a third party to be present for a lawyer-client conversation, a defendant waives the privilege.  A lawyer meeting with her client online may not even be aware of the presence of third party. Further,  if the attorney fails to ask to see the scope of the room for herself, then the client may not know that another person in the room crushes the attorney- client privilege. There are many space sharing arrangements and subleases which lawyers across the county engage in  in their attempts to get back to the office and avoid the distractions and loneliness so they can get back into the law office.