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Fewer virtual law practices and telecommuting lawyers reported in ABA survey

Posted Aug 15, 2013 7:42 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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An ABA survey reports a slight decline in the number of lawyers taking advantage of the ability to work online while outside an office.

The percentage of lawyers who described their law practice as “virtual” declined from 7 percent in 2012 to 5 percent in 2013, according to a story on the survey by Robert Ambrogi’s LawSites. And the percentage of lawyers who say they sometimes telecommute dropped from 78 percent in 2012 to 73 percent this year. The numbers come from the 2013 ABA Legal Technology Survey Report.

Lawyers who described their practice as virtual were asked about the defining characteristic of their virtual practice. Fifty-eight percent answered “lack of traditional physical office,” followed by “minimal in-person contact with clients” (52 percent) and “use of web-based tools for client interaction” (46 percent).

Solo and small-firm lawyers were more likely to report virtual practices; 7 percent of solos and 6 percent of those practicing in two-to-nine-lawyer firms said their practice was virtual. Occasional telecommuting, on the other hand, is more popular at big firms. Eight-four percent of lawyers working in firms of 500 or more attorneys said they sometimes telecommute.

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