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REMOTE IN-HOUSE LEGAL DEPARTMENTS

Working remotely – as an individual or as a team – can be a fabulous way to inject flexibility into your working environment. But it has its challenges and requires some planning. Here are some tips to assist you manage your own remote working environment and a fully remote in-house Legal Department, and how Xakia can help. 

Working Space
Technology Solutions
Communication – Your Legal Team
Communication – Your Clients
Time Management
Kindness and Empathy
Working Space

Working Space

Where you work is important. Your environment can impact how you concentrate throughout the day, your physical state, your longevity and ability to juggle multiple devices or documents and order your thoughts. When you are working from home, you don’t always have full control over your working space – the kitchen table may be all you have available! 

 

To the extent possible, consider the following: 

 

  • Natural light or a well-lit workspace 
  • Space to spread out, away from other distractions 
  • A good chair, a standing space (kitchen bench?) or ways to elevate your device to a good ergonomic level 
  • If you are on your laptop, consider getting a second screen, or hooking up your TV screen so that are not looking down for long periods of time.  
Technology Solutions

Technology Solutions

There are three critical technological elements for in-house legal teams or team members to work remotely: 

 

  • Communication/collaboration technology – this includes emails, Microsoft Teams, Slack or other messaging services. Seamless team video conferencing is essential. For quick implementation, try Zoom or Google hangouts. 
  • Matter management – one central list of who is working on what, and for whom, when it is due and how it is being prioritized. Crucial for team communication for remote working and where Xakia can operate as a central tool. 
  • Document management – the ability to access, edit and save documents (and emails) in a cloud-based central repository is essential. This may be SharePoint or Google Docs, or more sophisticated document management tools built for legal, like FyleriManage or NetDocuments 
Communication – Your Legal Team

Communication – Your Legal Team

Good team communication is important for collaborating on work and for building relationships with your in-house legal colleagues. With remote working, it is important not to lose sight of all elements of team communication: 

 

  • Regular workload check-in – ensure that you have a regularly scheduled – at least daily – check-in with your team about workload, priorities, and blockages. Use your matter management tools, or Xakia’s Card View, as a central talking point to review workloads. The ‘agile’ methodology of daily stand-ups can be a helpful way of creating rhythm around workload management for remote in-house teams or team members.  
  • General office banter – a drawback to remote working can be the limitations on ‘casual’ communication amongst team members. Ensure you create reasons to touch base throughout the day and leave room for the chit-chat in your work-related video calls.  
Communication – Your Clients

Communication – Your Clients

Communication with your clients when you are remote is essential. Consider the following: 

 

  • Do your clients know where to find legal assistance? Do you have a streamlined system for receiving work from your clients? This can be particularly important when they cannot easily walk past your desk or pick up the phone. Try Xakia’s legal intake tools to bring this to life quickly. 
  • Regular updates on individual mattersEnsure that you have a system for providing regular updates to your clients on each matter so that they can keep track.  
  • Share updates about Legal Team contributionParticularly if your whole team is working remotely, settle on a report format and ensure that you keep your clients abreast of the work being done by the Legal Department to demonstrate the value. 
Time Management

Time Management

Don’t work ALL day! It is very important to find ways to delineate between ‘work’ and ‘home’ to manage your mental and physical health. This might include: 

 

  • Mark out time for work, and time to finish work, including breaks during the day 
  • When you break during the day, ensure you walk away from your work space 
  • Find a way to mark the end of your working day with definition. Perhaps your ‘commute’ can include a walk around the block. 
Kindness and Empathy

Kindness and Empathy

Adjusting to remote working takes time, even for the introverts amongst you!  A rhythm may develop quickly, or take a while to settle. In the meantime, remember:

 

  • be patient with yourself and each other
  • understand that some may want/need to touch base more often
  • at different times you and your colleagues are juggling other commitments (ie. children, pets, door-to-door salespeople)

 

Companies Using Xakia

You can transition to an optimized Legal Department in just one hour.

With Xakia, your in-house legal team can:

Receive, triage and assign work
Monitor workloads & deadlines
Automate reports & dashboards
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