Are there limits on telecommuting and working virtually? 

Of course there are. Almost four years ago in The Future Law Office: Going Virtual, I advocated that large law firms take steps to allow lawyers to work some days at home or in satellite offices.

Some Companies Rethink The Telecommuting Trend in the Wall Street Journal today reports that some organizations – AT&T, Intel, Hewlett-Packard and the federal government – that pioneered telecommuting are scaling back on remote workers, citing factors such as office consolidations, security concerns, and fostering team work. Yet the IDC reports “corporate employees working full time from home are still rising, gaining 30% since 2005 to 2.44 million in 2007.”

It’s a mistake to use this article as an excuse to avoid considering working virtually. Law firms should, especially in light of both the war for talent and concern about costs, do what I suggest in my article: consciously and empirically think about optimizing work arrangements. One idea I had was scheduling meetings on specific days to foster collaboration but allow lawyers to work remotely other days. I never suggested “total telecommuting” for lawyers.