- As a result of COVID-19, flexible work has become the norm rather than the exception in the legal profession.
- Flexible work has a range of advantages, but it can lead to a paradox where people may feel disconnected and isolated despite relentless connectivity.
- NewLaw may offer ways to remedy some of these issues, but the implementation may take time as the key solution relates to a change in culture within the organisation.
Flexible work arrangements have been one of the hallmarks of legal services providers, especially, pre COVID-19, for firms that are setting themselves apart from BigLaw or traditional legal providers (these firms may also be referred to as NewLaw). As the model of NewLaw integrates and normalises flexibility, flexible work is often leveraged by NewLaw firms to appeal to both lawyers and clients. From a lawyer’s perspective, the flexibility goes beyond working part-time to working in a flexible environment where lawyers have autonomy regarding when and where the work is completed. For instance, instead of waiting for requests from employees, Justitia, an innovated law firm, operated on a ‘presumptive model of flexible work’ which tailored every employee’s working arrangements from the very beginning. For Justitia, this translated to lower attrition rates, access to a wider pool of talents, better employee work-life balance and clients’ satisfaction for the relationships built with the firms’ lawyers (Douglas, Laura. ‘Case Study: How Justitia Embraced Flexibility and Reaped the Rewards’ (Jan, 2015) Australasian Law Management Journal).