It was also one of the very first questions which we were asking ourselves at LAWGATE in the beginning. Do we want to go with the proven way and wrap our processes around a physical office? Or do we want to take a more decentralised way of handling things? Why should clients and law firms actually be interested in requesting or providing online legal services?
A Real Life Example
Let’s look at our friend, John Mayers and how he starts his day. Another dark and wet winter day, when John Mayers is on the way to his law firm office located downtown. After being stuck in traffic jams, he has to look for a parking lot due to numerous construction work. Sadly, his parking lot has been temporarily removed.
Exhausted he gets to his desk in the open space office overhearing several calls and sneezing colleagues. Oh right, it’s flu season again, where also bacteria, coronaviruses and other sicknesses go rampant. But wait a second, does it really have to be this way?
Our answer to this question is a clear… – Lets see in the following paragraphs.
Let Us Look at Positive Aspects about Online Legal Services
- Overall work productivity is potentially higher as the level of distraction is significantly lower. When people perform a lot of highly specialised and creative work, it is important to have spans of uninterrupted time. This is highly beneficial in achieving optimal performance results.
- Employees can live far away from the actual work place, which can significantly improve their quality of life. As rents outside the city centre are significantly lower, they have more discretionary spending available.
- Employees are generally healthier. They are less exposed to overcrowded public transports and various risks like catching the flu or a nasty coronavirus.
- Employers can save on rent significantly as they need much smaller office space. Further, a lower demand of construction activities for office buildings significantly reduces the environmental impact.
- A decentralized structure is much more resilient to external shocks like flooding, heavy snow or pandemics. This also goes hand in hand with some additional perks for employees. Such that they are more free in choosing their vacation time and especially location.
- Protecting the environment and saving precious resources. This goes especially handy if there is a push towards a paperless office. We at LAWGATE are striving to avoid as much paper as possible. Currently, we use paper in less than 1% of our work.
One of our core mission statement is to help lawyers reduce their environmental impact while interacting with their clients. We specialise on facilitating cross-border online legal services, we aim to help clients reduce unnecessary travel.
Challenges about Online Legal Services
- Companies need to first establish a culture of remote work. One of the key points is to root out the misunderstanding not being in a physical office does not mean being able to loaf off freely. This deterrent seems to be one of the strongest and maybe explains the tiny percentage of companies embracing remote work.
A recent study from ETH Zurich confirmed the small share of Swiss companies which embrace remote work. We at LAWGATE try to be in the first cohort of Swiss companies embracing this new paradigm. We aim to shape its future success by providing assistance and optimally tailored processes for online legal services.
- In a lot of countries, a culture of remote work first challenges the status quo and the established way of working. This is another main deterrent as people generally enjoy stability and short of external shocks, significant changes in daily routines do usually not happen.
- Companies need to define basic processes and infrastructure around remote work. For example, not all law firms would feel completely easy switching right away. The transition from primarily office based work towards providing legal services online requires some effort. The infrastructure regarding video conferencing, chat, client management and payment handling as well as archiving needs to be set. LAWGATE for example provides a system with video conferencing, chat and integrated payment, all in one place, on a single website.
However, in a lot of large service based companies, the use of the internet, working across countries and cultures is already well underway. The often prevalent fixation on a physical location seems to be a relict from the pre-internet era. Before the internet, all employees really needed to be physically at the same location. There was just no other way to share their work and be able to effectively communicate. But times have changed and embracing a remote first working culture promises large financial and productivity gains.
At LAWGATE, we encourage a decisive push towards a remote first working culture. We assist lawyers providing their legal services online without having to worry about the headaches.