Remote Legal Work

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aso1994

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Remote Legal Work

Postby aso1994 » Mon Apr 08, 2019 10:36 pm

I'm currently studying for the LSAT and thinking about where I want to go to school. My question is about remote work and the prospects for people coming out of law school. Is there a good market for that? Should school rank still weigh as heavily on my decision? Should it weigh heavier on my decision? What kind of jobs are there for remote working people? I've given what I'm concerned about, but any relevant advice is greatly appreciated.

-New Member of TLS

cavalier1138

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Re: Remote Legal Work

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue Apr 09, 2019 5:54 am

It depends on what you mean by "remote work" and on what you're willing to do. But generally, no. Law is a client-facing industry.

If you want to work from home every day, then you probably can't practice law. Even in the most autonomous solo practice, you still need to have an office, meet with clients, go to court, etc. Outside of solo practice, you may find a firm/organization with lower face-time requirements, but that still generally requires you to be in the office more often than you're working from home.

But why do you want to be a lawyer? "I want to work remotely" is a weird way to open a discussion about career paths.

lawgirl3521

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Re: Remote Legal Work

Postby lawgirl3521 » Thu Apr 11, 2019 12:00 pm

In my experience there is actually a ton of remote work available with legitimate firms that pay good salaries and benefits on both a permanent and contractual basis. The caveat is that you will need to be barred and have first practiced law in a traditional manner for about 2-3 years on average. After that, the market is wide open for remote work - and there are several studies indicating that recent trends in law are moving to a remote based model (will find the link to said studies to post).

cavalier1138

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Re: Remote Legal Work

Postby cavalier1138 » Thu Apr 11, 2019 8:31 pm

lawgirl3521 wrote:In my experience there is actually a ton of remote work available with legitimate firms that pay good salaries and benefits on both a permanent and contractual basis. The caveat is that you will need to be barred and have first practiced law in a traditional manner for about 2-3 years on average. After that, the market is wide open for remote work - and there are several studies indicating that recent trends in law are moving to a remote based model (will find the link to said studies to post).


Do you have a specific kind of remote work in mind? Because I'm guessing that you're thinking of staff attorney document/discovery work, which isn't really what most people think of when they think about legal work.

Not that you can't get decent pay, but I doubt a 0L is dreaming of graduating into a sweet discovery gig where someone ten years their junior makes twice what they do while ordering them around.

jackdanielsga

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Re: Remote Legal Work

Postby jackdanielsga » Sat Apr 13, 2019 5:53 pm

Sounds to me like the OP is still in the exploration stages.
For remote work, there's nothing wrong with discovery or docs review for those who like it. So that could be a viable option though far from being glamorous or career-enhancing.
Other options that I've seen attorneys do remotely would be business contracts and patents (or other IP work) that doesn't involve litigation.
Finally the definition of "remote work" could mean working for a firm downtown but doing most of the actual work in the comfort of a suburban home, with trips to the court as necessary.
So the OP should really clarify what's their vision of a career, depending on what they think they want to do.

As for the school rank, the short answer is yes, it makes a huge difference.

Wipfelder

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Re: Remote Legal Work

Postby Wipfelder » Sat Apr 13, 2019 7:01 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
lawgirl3521 wrote:In my experience there is actually a ton of remote work available with legitimate firms that pay good salaries and benefits on both a permanent and contractual basis. The caveat is that you will need to be barred and have first practiced law in a traditional manner for about 2-3 years on average. After that, the market is wide open for remote work - and there are several studies indicating that recent trends in law are moving to a remote based model (will find the link to said studies to post).


Do you have a specific kind of remote work in mind? Because I'm guessing that you're thinking of staff attorney document/discovery work, which isn't really what most people think of when they think about legal work.

Not that you can't get decent pay, but I doubt a 0L is dreaming of graduating into a sweet discovery gig where someone ten years their junior makes twice what they do while ordering them around.


One of the biggest law firms in the US (by number of attorneys and revenues) is exclusively remote-style work. Check out Axiom. Also, many firms, especially corporate-heavy tech firms, have associates that work remotely. For both of these, a few years of "showing up" is required (preferably at a major firm).

jackdanielsga

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Re: Remote Legal Work

Postby jackdanielsga » Sat Apr 13, 2019 8:56 pm

Also I just remembered, the GC for the company that I work for is remote, though he shows up often at our various offices for meetings and such. But then we're not very litigious and we hired law firms for the "defensive" court work in the past. His role is mostly making himself sound important.

QContinuum

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Re: Remote Legal Work

Postby QContinuum » Sat Apr 13, 2019 10:13 pm

jackdanielsga wrote:Also I just remembered, the GC for the company that I work for is remote, though he shows up often at our various offices for meetings and such. But then we're not very litigious and we hired law firms for the "defensive" court work in the past. His role is mostly making himself sound important.

I'd bet dollars to donuts the aforementioned GC didn't start out working remotely. You can get away with all manner of things once you get senior and well-connected enough. Think Jürgen Klinsmann commuting from Germany to the U.S. to coach the U.S. national team - no way any "lesser" coach would've been allowed to do that. Or how some corporate executives live clean across the country in their preferred state, and only occasionally fly in to HQ. Or, closer to TLS' purview, how some bigshot senior partners rarely roll into the office, or work only 10-4, yet maintain a spacious office three times the size of an associate's and also get paid many times an associate's salary.

This is not a lifestyle that a new graduate - any new graduate - could emulate.

jackdanielsga

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Re: Remote Legal Work

Postby jackdanielsga » Sun Apr 14, 2019 11:34 am

QContinuum wrote:
jackdanielsga wrote:Also I just remembered, the GC for the company that I work for is remote, though he shows up often at our various offices for meetings and such. But then we're not very litigious and we hired law firms for the "defensive" court work in the past. His role is mostly making himself sound important.

I'd bet dollars to donuts the aforementioned GC didn't start out working remotely.


Right, yes, while he was always remote in our company (as are probably 10% of our workforce), he had ~4 years as an associate at law firms after his JD, and then several more years of in-house work elsewhere. A fresh grad still would need to put in a few years of hardcore work. But if the OP's life goal is remote work, it's totally reasonable - eventually, if planned right. Whereas, for example, a criminal defense or prosecution track is unlikely to ever lead to any possibility of remote work.



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