New agile working trends are changing the face of the legal profession and technology is the key enabler. The so-called ‘gig economy’ is a rapidly developing platform of freelance service providers looking for shorter-term projects rather than full-time employment and its reaching all echelons of the business world.
The gig economy has hit the headlines recently because of high profile court cases for innovative services such as Uber (taxies) and Deliveroo (restaurant delivery service) but for some time the legal profession has been leading the way at the top end. According to the European Forum of Independent Professionals the number of freelancers in the EU rose by 24% from 7.7 million to 9.6 million between 2008 and 2015.
The Law Society Gazette, just a few days ago, reported on agile working research (by Hazlewoods) that highlighted 800 lawyers are working for virtual firms using shared services provided by a central hub that is driven by technology that enables remote working. Berwin Leyton Paisner launched LOD (Lawyers On Demand) in 2007 which now has 300 freelance lawyers on its books available as a booster service for legal teams and Vario by Eversheds markets itself as a ‘a hub of freelance legal professionals’.
An Eversheds survey which focused on young lawyers and their views on the legal sector highlighted that these up-and-coming professionals are looking for a better work-life balance and concluded that they feel the traditional career path in law is now out of step with the 21st century.
Although the gig economy brings a lack of traditional job benefits such as sick pay, holiday pay and retirement schemes, the Gazette article points out some tangible benefits. Lawyers who may have previously set up their own firms seem to be realising the major cost and time savings of practising remotely and by freelancing have the potential to earn more money in fewer hours working at times which suit them.
As suppliers of LAWFUSION, the popular legal practice management suite of software for law firms, we are finding amongst our client base a growing number of examples of this kind of agile working. There is certainly evidence that more and more solicitors are working remotely as well as freelancing more often. We are also seeing others freelancing for law firms, not necessarily fee earners. People who are skilled in running law firms are doing the same, e.g. amongst our users we have freelance heads of finance and marketing too.
The technology to support efficient remote working has been around for a while but it has now reached a tipping point in terms of it being at its most stable and secure. No matter where a solicitor is in the world, with a secure internet connection any authorised user, whether freelance or a permanent employee, can log on to the firm’s practice management system via the cloud for a competitive fee per user. This includes logging onto all the integrated tools that go with it (e.g. Microsoft Office and Exchange etc.) .
Select Legal Systems’ cloud option for law firms is LAWFUSION Direct. Whether you are keen to simply encourage more remote working for your employees or have more ambitious plans to implement innovative agile working strategies, you will need reliable technology to achieve it. For more information about LAWFUSION Direct please call 01482 567601 or feel free to use our online enquiry form outside of office hours.
Select Legal Systems also offers LAWFUSION as a traditional on-premise installation with reliable remote working options.