“Many consultants and other experts say the pandemic has frayed relationships between legal departments and their corporate clients, in part because too many hybrid work environments are poorly structured.”-Law.com
The hybrid work style is here to stay. Legal departments juggling traditional work models while integrating a remote work system are making the move to hybrid work models. Although the pandemic may have been a catalyst, hybrid work models are the way forward, bringing a wealth of benefits along with it.
Paving the Way for Hybrid Work Models
Legal technology has completely upended the legal world for the better. Not a new entrant, legal tech is enjoying the limelight as legal departments quickly scramble to utilize them. From offerings like AI predictive analytics, to legal spend management, legal tech has not only made itself comfortable in a hybrid work model, but is showing lawyers a smarter way to work.
A Law.com article notes that “legal is embracing more innovation and technology in a pandemic economy”. Driven by the pandemic, but here to stay, integration of legal tech keeps legal departments not just in the know, but also relevant in a world where organizations are quickly becoming defunct and outdated.
Hybrid Legal Work Model Variants
Remote work disrupted the world of office-only work, relegating teams to think on their feet and come up with new hybrid models. The first part of remote work during the pandemic kept attorneys out of the office and working from home or other locations. During the decline of the virus, and as lockdowns eased up, hybrid models began to emerge. The National Law Review says hybrid working models are designed to be flexible and can be customized for every legal department.
A traditional model, where attorneys have to be at the office. Remote work is not the norm, but an exception to the rule. This is also a model that can’t gel with a swiftly-moving legal world turning to hybrid work models. In-person work models are being phased out, even as the world leaves the pandemic behind.
An almost ideal blend, this model has attorneys working either at the office or off-premise on a split week model. It has proven to be the most productive work model during the latter part of the pandemic when lockdowns eased up and virus fears were on the decline.
With this style, attorneys work in blocks of time over the week or month. This is ideal when capacity is lower and not during peak season. It offers attorneys the chance to balance and redistribute workloads among partners in their legal departments.
Quickly growing in popularity, legal departments are embracing this hybrid model. With a remote first approach, attorneys can work on legal and related tasks from anywhere.
Reasons to Adopt a Hybrid Model
Some attorneys may prefer office-only, while others like remote-first. In an attempt to provide an environment of inclusion, organizations need to include hybrid models to provide all attorneys with a working model that fits them best. Here are a few reasons to have hybrid legal work models.
Younger Talent Retention
In an Above the Law article, a report by McKinsey & Company notes that younger talent (18-34) are 59% more likely to leave their jobs if hybrid work isn’t offered. This demographic matters because they’re the most tapped into legal tech and trends in the legal space. In turn, they help keep the legal team up to date with legal tech and news that matters.
Supports Legal Tech
Legal tech isn’t just about the software, but how to keep legal departments working seamlessly, organized, and on top of their budget. With an offering for every need, legal tech has seen a boon in the pandemic legal work environment, and will continue to expand exponentially. Tapping into the wealth of resources will keep legal departments nimble and relevant. Legal departments also get to enjoy perks like major cost savings and improvements to work-life balance.
Retrospectively, one of the key takeaways of the post-pandemic work culture was the understanding that office-only isn’t an ideal work set-up. Whether an individual needs more care, or are caregivers themselves, working in a hybrid model gives them the flexibility to focus on them and the people around them. A rushed and draining office-only environment sapped the energy out of attorneys who couldn’t give their all at work. But that’s changing with hybrid work models!