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U.S. Lawyers Laud and Applaud WFH: Survey

A new national survey of legal professionals shows an overwhelming majority of lawyers are permitted to work from home, with a substantial number reporting no measurable decrease in productivity while doing so.

work from home 4987741 640smallThe survey, which was sponsored by the American Bar Association (ABA) and commissioned by the Coordinating Group on Practice Forward, was conducted between Monday, May 30 and Friday, June 17 by The Red Bee Group, according to the ABA. Nearly 2,000 individuals working in law degree-required jobs participated.

Findings from the survey entitled “Where Does the Legal Profession Go from Here?” show remote work options are especially desirable for young lawyers as 44% of respondents reported they would leave their job to bolster opportunities for remote work.

“This report is a valuable follow-up to last year’s Practice Forward survey, which offered guidance about the best path forward for the legal profession after the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said ABA President Deborah Enix-Ross, in a statement. “With the new survey findings, we are seeing how lawyers want to work—with flexibility playing a key role for many as they transition back into the workplace.”

According to the survey, 87% said their workplace offers remote work options, and 90% reported “no impact or an increase in work quality from remote or hybrid working.” Further, 82% of respondents said they believe courts should permit remote court-ordered mediation, 88% said as much of depositions, 93% of pretrial hearings and 64% called for remote bench trials.

From Twitter

TechGC @techgc_co ·Sep 30

“When outlining a remote/hybrid policy, those in leadership need to ask themselves: which teams are best suited to work in a remote environment, and which teams are not?” #remotework #legal #techgc #employmentforum"

Remote work has been a hot topic in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which led a large swath of the population to stay home for weeks and months at a time. However, professional services network KPMG recently found that 65% of CEOs representing multinational corporations expected in-office work to again dominate within the next three years. Of those asked, only 28% said they expect a hybrid-dominated work experience, and 7% projected fully remote work to become the norm.

From Twitter

Bloomberg Equality @BBGEquality Oct 3

"[THREAD] Adults with disabilities have rarely been employed in such high numbers, thanks in large part to the removal of one of the biggest obstacles to having a job— commuting"

Increasing remote work opportunities may aid lawyers of color, female lawyers, disabled lawyers and LGBTQ+ lawyers. Those groups have reported feeling increased amounts of stress at work when compared to their colleagues. According to the survey, these lawyers said they believe they are perceived as less competent and reported an inability to be authentic at work. They also reported suffering “demeaning or insulting comments.”

“The 2022 Practice Forward Survey demonstrates that the legal profession is still adjusting to the profound changes caused by the pandemic. Lawyers are continuing to evaluate how and where they work and what is important and meaningful to them in their jobs,” according to the report. “The war for talent has not abated and younger lawyers are more likely to leave their current job for one that offers more flexibility or greater opportunity to work remotely.”

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