How to Practise Wills & Probate Law From Anywhere
How solicitors work has changed—and it could be for the better for you and your firm.
For a lot of wills and probate solicitors, it was previously unthinkable that it was possible to work from home. The past two years have shown that it’s not just possible but very manageable for solicitors and other legal professionals to work remotely or on the go.
Now, as firms across the UK prepare for a safe return to the office, many are keen to embrace a new way of working for solicitors: the hybrid workplace.
A hybrid office is one that allows law firm staff to work more flexibly. For example, a hybrid office can:
- Enable staff to work in a way that suits them, e.g. working from the office three days a week and from home two days a week (or any other combination).
- Facilitate firm members to work securely and efficiently on the move, e.g. while running errands, heading to court, or commuting via train.
- Allow you to travel to meet your clients wherever suits them (especially useful for a family lawyer) and let you create documents or look up internal case details from your phone or laptop.
If the idea of a hybrid workplace is sounding good to you, here are some tips from Clio that will help you create your new way of working.
To start out on the right foot when switching to a more hybrid workspace, it’s absolutely critical that you clearly communicate any changes and new policies with clients, colleagues, and staff.
For example, when it comes to your staff, speak to any regular staff about how you’ll all work together while some are remote and some are in the office. How will you hold meetings–will everyone conference call or video call or would you prefer everyone to come to the office for important meetings? Does someone need to be in the office every day to answer phones or will a VOIP phone service negate this need? A virtual receptionist service can also help to ensure that no call goes unanswered while your team is working on a more hybrid basis. There are plenty of options available that work well for solicitors, including LEXReception.
Will you meet clients in the office only on specific days or are you happy to travel to meet them?
Clearly identify your needs early and talk to each other to figure out the best plan of approach.
Ditch the paper
Filing cabinets aren’t exactly portable, and posting paper documents between yourself, staff, clients, and colleagues when not in the office will quickly become cost-prohibitive. A switch away from paper and towards digital options can help here. While initially you might need to scan and upload existing documents, as you continue to work more on a hybrid basis, you should be seeking to store your documents on the cloud. Cloud-based document storage solutions allow you to securely access your files and easily collaborate on them from anywhere in the world, as long as you have an internet connection.
Certain cloud-based case management systems have taken things one step further and now include an integrated client portal to enable members of a firm to easily share resources and collaborate with clients, contacts, or co-counsels. This makes it easier to review and contribute to relevant matter developments, whilst also saving time. Clio’s secure client portal ‘Clio Connect’ is included in the cost of your Clio subscription.
Think about internet security
Keeping documents and communications secure between you and your clients and other firm members is essential. As such, you should think about how secure your connection is when working in locations other than your office.
One option that you could consider is to use a VPN. A remote-access virtual private network (more often referred to as a VPN) is exactly what it sounds like: It allows users to securely connect to a private network (e.g., one at a law firm) from a remote location. If your firm uses on-premise case management software, or if your files are stored locally on your firm’s network, you’ll need to set up a VPN in order to access key case details and documents.
However, if you use a cloud-based case management system like Clio, you don’t need to worry about a VPN: Simply log in via your web browser for safe and secure access to all of your files.
With technology, it’s more possible than it’s ever been for law firms to work on a schedule and in a manner that works for them. The Clio team can show you exactly how to do it.
This article was submitted to be published by Clio as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Wills and Probate. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Wills and Probate.