The legal landscape is constantly changing. Years ago our legal work required seemingly endless hours trudging through paper and legal periodicals in order to get anything done. The traditional law firm model involved long work hours in the law office, which you needed to do if you want to climb the corporate ladder to equity partnership. But that’s no longer necessarily the case, as more and more legal professionals are looking for ways to work from home.
Nowadays much of our work can be done on our desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. And no matter how much you love your job as an attorney, you might find yourself one day wishing you can spend more time with your family.
Legal employers realize this, and some are starting to offer remote and telecommuting positions so their lawyers and legal professionals can choose their own hours and work from anywhere.
Flexible Jobs are Becoming More Attractive
One in five Americans currently works from home, according to this article on Forbes.
Even with all the technology that makes it possible for attorneys to work remotely, many legal career paths (particularly in large to midsized firms) still require a time commitment that makes it nearly impossible to prioritize other aspects of our lives. We don’t all have the same priorities, and the traditional law firm path to partnership may be right for some, but it isn’t necessarily a great fit for everyone.
In 2019 Weil, Gotshal & Manges institued a new policy that allowed third-year associates and higher the opportunity to work from home once per week. This new policy derived from the recognition that millennials have “different” expectations for their lives and careers.
The rise of flexibility and remote work options in combination with new technologies is making flexible, remote, and freelance law jobs a viable and accessible career option for lawyers.
Why Flexible Job Options are Important
There are several reasons why some lawyers want a more flexible work arrangement. While the reasons behind flexible work requirements are diverse, they are all valid. For many lawyers, a flexible career option is the only way for them to practice law while also handling their other priorities in life.
Family Matters. The traditional law firm model doesn’t always offer the best flexibility for startng a family. Long office hours make it hard to raise children, let alone be a truly involved parent. When some attorneys make the decision to start a family, they are also faced wth the decision of whether to leave their job in order to devote more time to their family.
Self-care and care for others. If a child or an adult family member becomes sick, an attorney might need to take a leave of absence to care for that person. The same concept applies when an attorney becomes ill themselves and needs to take some time off for self-care. Returning to work after a leave of absence can be very difficult at a traditional law firm. Catching up on billable hours for the year and reestablishing relationships with both clients and coworkers doesn’t just happen overnight.
Other hobbies and passions. Sometimes an attorney just has a different passion that they want to pursue. Flexible job options—particularly freelance legal work–may provide the attorney with a steady income while they chase their other dreams.
Career change. A legal education is expensive, and some people don’t want to dedicate their entire life to a law firm. But student loan payments are still due even when a law firm gig doesn’t work out. This is where the option of spending some years working for a law firm and then switching to a freelance arrangement is a great way to keep practicing law and still make enough money to pay off their loans.
Flexible legal work provides great opportunities for attorneys who want to prioritize other aspects of their lives, like starting a family or pursuing another passion.
7 Websites with Flexible and Work-from-Home Attorney Jobs
The Career Center on this website contains a job search board that can be tailored toward flex work. Simply type “work from home,” “remote,” or “flexible” (depending on your needs) along with your preferred title (“attorney,” “lawyer,” “paralegal,” etc.) into the search bar and watch the listings appear on your screen.
Monster has been around for decades and is indeed a monster in the online job search world. As of this writing, a search for “remote attorney jobs” quickly brought up over 1,000 listings. Incredible.
Flexjobs is a subscription website that helps jobseekers find the best remote, part-time, freelance, and other flexible schedule jobs. Unlike some other job sites, Flexjobs hand-screens each job to ensure its legitimacy, thereby ensuring that their jobseekers aren’t tricked into scam opportunities.
4. Robert Half
Robert Half offers legal staffing services that specialize in providing highly skilled lawyers, paralegals, and legal support professionals with their employment needs. Robert Half has made Fortune Magazine’s list of the “World’s Most Admired Companies” in the temporary-help industry for 20 years consecutively since it first made the list in 1998. They also provide thousands of free training courses to their job candidates.
Glassdoor is a comprehensive job search website that allows you to seach for positions using multiple criteria. Although it is not specific to flexible jobs, their search tools can be customized to find flexible jobs according to your job search criteria.
LinkedIn is a great place to find remote and flexible attorney jobs. You can also use LinkedIn to communicate with other attorneys in your network who may already have remote or flexible jobs. Use the alert function to receive email alerts for new jobs posted on LinkedIn that match your general search criteria or that are recommended to you.
Freelance work offers the greatest amount of flexibility. LAWCLERK is an online freelance marketplace for lawyers. Once you’ve created an account, you can browse the market place for freelance projects and apply for the ones that interest you.
Keep those resources in mind as you work to achieve your goal of choosing your own hours and working from anywhere.