Can hiring an online lawyer be as effective as a traditional one?
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many employers had to pivot their businesses to operate remotely and online. Law firms and other forms of legal assistance have also had to adapt their jobs to work and be hired remotely. However, even before the pandemic started, there was an increase in lawyers working from home. Law Times wrote an article about a survey that involved 150 full-time Canadian lawyers. In the article, they stated, “about 74 percent” of survey respondents “said that more colleagues have worked remotely in the past year.” With such an increase – and considering COVID-19-related restrictions – hiring a remote lawyer may become more frequent and convenient for many Canadians.
Remote legal services
Hiring a remote lawyer may be a new concept to a lot of people, including lawyers themselves. The growth of technology has dramatically changed the traditional way of lawyering. The evolution of the internet, technology, and online security allows lawyers to change the way they practice law.
The possibilities of being a remote lawyer date back to 1971 upon the invention of the e-mail; suddenly, there was a faster, more accessible, and more productive way to communicate. Once cloud computing and storage came into the picture, remote work became even more realistic with the ability to access files and information from anywhere and on a larger scale. Nowadays, we have access to an overwhelming amount of instant messaging applications, most notably; texting. The ability to communicate with someone instantaneously regardless of their geographical location makes it very easy to be a remote lawyer.
Most, if not all, legal correspondences can be done through your computer while you’re lying in bed. You can request consultations by filling out a form online and sign and receive documents securely through different types of software. You could easily go through an entire case without ever meeting your lawyer face to face unless necessary for hearings.
Is it more effective to hire a remote lawyer?
The decision to hire a remote lawyer depends entirely on the person looking for legal services.
You may find hiring a remote lawyer more effective if:
- You like having your correspondences recorded or documented (e.g., e-mails, texts, calls)
- You require a family member or friend to help you with communicating or handling your case. If they are involved in your case, online communication, and the ability to do most things remotely can eliminate scheduling conflicts.
- You have a disability or struggle to leave your house (or if you would prefer not to leave your home)
- If you live in a smaller town/city where your closest lawyer is a far commute or have a preferred lawyer who lives far away from you
Hiring a local (in-person) lawyer may be more effective for you if:
- You prefer to keep your legal business separate from your home life
- You struggle with using technology or don’t have access to it
- You would rather have a face-to-face relationship with your lawyer or if you are the type who prefers to have a more personal affiliation with the person handling your legal business.
- You simply prefer the typical/traditional way of doing things
Deciding to hire a remote lawyer
If hiring a remote lawyer is the best and most effective decision for you, there are some considerations to have when working with a lawyer online. You deserve and should hire the most qualified and suitable person to help you with your case. Ensure that you do extensive research before hiring a remote lawyer to be confident you have chosen the right one. It is also crucial that you hire a lawyer specializing in cases like yours (e.g., employment, personal injury, immigration, criminal).