The January/February issue of Law Practice magazine includes an article that I wrote called The Future Law Office: Going Virtual. It explores how law firms should consider letting lawyers spend more time working at home or in satellite offices and, in return, rent less space in expensive downtown centers. A good example of this idea in action appeared recently in the The New York Times.  

In the December 31, 2003 edition, the Times ran an article called Reverse Commute: Bringing the Office to the Employee that explains how Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, a large architecture firm, opened a satellite office on Long Island. An 8-person technical team works out of low overhead space in Hauppauge. The article cites several advantages of opening this office:

  • Retention of a key person who no longer was willing to commute 2 hours each way to Manhattan
  • Operating costs that are one-third less than Manhattan.
  • Close proximity to relatively easy-to-use MacArthur Airport so that the tech staff can easily reach clients around the country.
  • Various technologies allow the 8 remote employees to interact easily with their colleagues in Manhattan, though they do occasionally travel to the city for in-person meetings. The functional requirements of an architectural firm are, if anything, probably more demanding than that of a law firm. I was pleased to see a real-life of example of the ideas I explore working for a professional services organization.

    On a related note, I also came across a good article by systems integrator Kraft, Kennedy & Lesser that describes Voice Over Internet Telphony, one of the enabling technologies I discuss in my article.

    My article, and others on legal technology, is available on this web site.