Virtual Viability: Telecommuting Works Only With Solid Client Service

Published January/February 2007, Legal Management

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When a technology company decides technology is the problem and not the answer, it's worth taking note. Hewlett-Packard recently did just that. The computer and electronics giant, a pioneer of telecommuting, announced that it was ending the practice for most, if not all, of its 1,000-person global information technology staff. Staff members now report to one of 25 offices nearest their homes. In some cases, this may mean a move of thousands of miles. The reason: Apparently enough questionable practices surfaced to compel the new division chief, formerly with two major high-tech companies, to re-examine and eliminate the practice.

What does this mean for legal administrators and the lawyer with whom they work? It's an indication that the ever-increasing interest in telecommuting among lawyers in large firms – and the ever-expanding use of technology by solo practitioners to extend their communication reach – may both have limits.

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