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How to Work From Home as an Attorney or Lawyer

by Tony Guerra

Traditionally, most lawyers work in government offices, at law firms or nonprofit organizations and at their own office-type practices. However, the work-from-home environment is a real possibility as well as a growing trend for lawyers or attorneys. In fact, the growing ability to work in real-time through the Web has enabled many legal professionals to keep virtual offices at home. Working from home, though, requires a lawyer or attorney, or most any other professional, to be disciplined about work and productivity.

Attorney Home Offices

Attorneys and lawyers have worked from home offices for years, though before the Web those offices were more traditional in character. Many a lawyer has walled off or separated a home-office practice from the rest of the house, in other words. Work-from-home legal work in the 21st century, though, can mean operating in an interactive virtual office and with other attorneys in many other locations. Longtime work-at-home attorney Chuck Newton also believes that productivity is higher for attorneys or lawyers working from home.

Working from Home

Increasingly, government, in-house law firms and big business are seeking out legal pros willing to work from home. As an attorney, your most important decision about working from home will be whether to do so on your own or for a law firm or other organization. RocketLawyer.com's Matthew Hickey outlines several must-dos for work-from-home attorneys, including continuing to dress professionally for work. Also, work-from-home legal professionals must conscientiously track their time or billable hours as well as all home office and technology expenses.

Maintaining Home Offices

There are several issues that attorneys and lawyers working from home should keep in mind, including the need for attorney-client confidentiality. Attorney Bruce Caton, writing at Legal.com, observes that work-from-home attorneys need well-defined areas in their homes for offices. Attorneys and lawyers working from home must be able to handle legal work free from distractions such as children or everyday home issues. Attorney home offices should also always provide useful work and client meeting environments.

Costs and Salaries

Self-employed work-from-home attorneys could have higher costs than work-from-home attorneys employed by organizations that may cover some costs. However, Web tools that include computerized billing and productivity products such as virtual conferencing can reduce an attorney's home-office costs. In all cases, an attorney working from home should establish well-defined work routines at all times. Additionally, virtual law firm CounselOnCall.com says its work-at-home attorneys can earn incomes similar to attorney associates at traditional law firms, who made $115,000 to $162,625 in 2011.

About the Author

Tony Guerra served more than 20 years in the U.S. Navy. He also spent seven years as an airline operations manager. Guerra is a former realtor, real-estate salesperson, associate broker and real-estate education instructor. He holds a master's degree in management and a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies.

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