Life Hacks for Lawyers: Always Be Prepared to Work from Home

As of the writing of this post, it seems impossible to open your inbox or read the news or simply browse social media without hearing about the novel coronavirus. But the reality is undeniable—COVID-19 is spreading globally, and many businesses, including law firms, are requiring employees to work from home. Even at law firms that haven’t closed offices, many lawyers and staffers are choosing to work remotely, whether it’s because their kids’ schools are closed or out of an abundance of caution.

No matter what the reason for remote work may be, many lawyers are unaccustomed to working outside of the office for extended periods of time. Below, we’ve provided some productivity tips that you can leverage to set yourself up for success when working from home:

  • First, understand your firm’s work from home policy. As written in a blog post by Michael Ertel, Practice Innovation and Knowledge Attorney at Paul Hastings, make sure that you’re not only familiar with your firm’s policy, but also that you understand any informal expectations around working from home, including frequency.
  • Make sure you have the right equipment and set-up to replicate your office environment. Expect that you’ll probably be taking a lot of video and phone calls, so a high-quality headset is essential. Try to confirm with your IT department that your remote access has been configured properly and that you have sufficient Internet speed to access necessary applications.
  • Minimize distractions from your personal life. Establish ground rules with other members of your household. Ensure that you have a quiet space to work in to reduce potential background noise during a call.
  • Do more with mobile. Let’s face it: working from a laptop is not always the most seamless experience (especially if you’re like me and consistently have 6+ windows open). Leverage your mobile device, whether tablet or smartphone, as a separate screen when necessary. For example, you may want to take video calls from your tablet while you use your desktop to access your documents. Or, with an app like ZERØ, you can also use your phone or tablet to automatically file emails to your document management system in between meetings or other tasks.