While law firms weren’t caught completely off-guard by the COVID-19 pandemic, its extended duration has caused many to rethink how they are delivering services to clients, in addition to making the most of their remote workforce. While the past 18 months have brought both challenges as well as more pleasant discoveries, lawyers can agree that how they work has changed permanently.



Koichi Saito, partner, Anderson Mori & Tomotsune

Although our firm had already begun to introduce remote work practices before the arrival of the pandemic, since the pandemic this process has greatly accelerated and is now a firm-wide reality. I almost always work at home now, and the firm has facilitated our access to online precedent databases in order to make remote work easier for everyone. Managing our daily operations online has also reduced redundancy in client communications, particularly by enabling the signing of documents electronically. Online communications have improved our communications with clients by making us more readily available to casual meetings than before. We have introduced a system which enables us to exchange business cards at an online client meeting. Almost all of our seminars have been shifted from in-person styles to webinars. In accordance with such shift, we are improving our online marketing system to arrange webinars more smoothly and efficiently.

Although interoffice communications can at times be challenging, our firm’s lawyers have frequent and regular online meetings and circulate newsletters and case updates within the office, and these activities are particularly frequent for lawyers working in the same practice areas. I very much doubt that our previous ways of communicating, either with clients or between firm members, will return once the pandemic is over. The electronic signing of documents and the availability of new online communication options within the judiciary are features of the new reality that, we hope, are here to stay.

Takeshi Iitani and Gaku Yoneyama, attorneys, southgate

Most of our attorneys specialise in cross border M&A. In those cases, especially inbound investments into Japan, we don’t frequently meet clients face-to-face. In that sense, we have not experienced a very difficult challenge in adopting remote work, and at the same time with meeting clients’ needs. That said, we have rediscovered the best things in remote work through the pandemic and aim to fully use these virtues. One of such good things is remote communications allow us to reduce the time spent on transportation, which makes easier both for clients and us to set up a meeting, and this is beneficial not only for overseas clients but also clients in Japan. In the Japanese legal industry, lawyers and law firms tend to prefer working in the office. We nevertheless think the worldwide trend of remote work is irreversible. So, we plan to further embrace remote work technologies proactively, thereby enhance efficiency and quality of our services while hiring and cooperating lawyers in faraway places. In the meantime, we are paying close attention to maintaining good communications with our clients and in our team, such as training young lawyers in a context of real cases, which can become cursory in an online-only environment, so that needs from clients and our firm members are met.

David Yaegashi, attorney, Squire Patton Boggs

As to the effect of the pandemic on daily operations, I have similar concerns to other firms about the training of young lawyers and team building in a remote work environment. With respect to young lawyers, mentoring, a key aspect of development, often occurs through organic communication. In fact, some clients in the U.S. have requested that the firm resume “normal” operations and re-open offices to, in part, allow young lawyers to obtain necessary experiences and training.

However, there are many benefits to remote work too. For example, wide adoption and adaptation to virtual communication technology has allowed law firms to service clients remotely and seamlessly during the pandemic. These technologies and remote work policies have also enabled “right-sizing” office space – reducing operation costs while also allowing lawyers to reduce, or even eliminate, their commutes. Some of my colleagues report that these developments have led to better work-life balance.

My personal view for post-COVID operations is that law firms will continue to evolve their practice styles. I expect law firms to adopt a “hybrid” approach combining beneficial aspects of in-office and remote work.


新型コロナウィルスの大流行前から、リモートワークなどのテクノロジーを導入していた法律事務所は多く、そのためコロナによって業務が混乱に陥ることはなかったが、コロナ下での仕事が続くに連れて、多くの事務所は、リモ ートでも弁護士たちに最大限力を発揮してもらうことに加え、クライアントへサービスをどのように提供するかについて再考している。この18ヵ月は、課題の克服と共にポジティブな発見もあり、こうした働き方の変化はコロナ後もニューノーマルとして続くだろうと弁護士たちは考えている。



アンダーソン・毛利・友常 法律事務所、パートナー、齋藤 宏一弁護士

新型コロナウイルス感染症が蔓延する前から、もともと弊事務所ではリモートでの執務を行うことができる環境が整備されていましたが、同感染症の蔓延をきっかけとしてリモートでの執務体制を拡充し、今ではリモートワークが日常となりました。私自身もほとんど自宅で働いており、事務所はリモートでの執務体制を拡充させるため、図書も電子図書を活用できるよう便宜を図っています。リモートでの執務体制、例えば、オンライン会議の浸透により、依頼者とのコミュニケーションは効率的になりました。こうしたコミュニケーションの効率化により、ちょっとしたことでも打合せを気軽に持つことができ、依頼者とのコミュニケーションをむしろ効率的・効果的にした他、オンライン・ミーティングで名刺交換ができるシステムを導入し、オンライン・セミナーもこれまでよりスムーズで効率的に開けるようにマーケテ ィング・システムも改善しています。



私どもは元々クロスボーダーの案件を取り扱ってきたメンバーが揃っており、特にインバウンドの案件では、元々海外のクライアントとface-to-faceでのミーティングを行う機会は多くありませんでした。その意味では、リモートワークと顧客満足度の両立については、特に高いハードルもなく順応しやすかった面はあろうかと思います。リモートワークを徹底して新たに認識したよさもありますので、それらのよさを生かしていきたいと思っております。国内案件やアウトバウンドの案件においても、様々な局面での移動時間がなくなりますと、クライアントとのミーティングのセットアップもしやすくなりますので、その面でクライアントにとっての勝手もよくなるところもあるかと思っております。法曹界では比較的出勤が好まれていますが、世界的にリモートワークの流れは不可逆的だと考えられるので、率先して取り組み、業務効率・品質の向上や離れた地域に住む人材の獲得に活用していきます。他方で、リモートワークで失 われがちなもの(顧客接点、所内コミュニケーション、Contextベースの教育・トレーニング等)を補う工夫も続けていき、顧客とメンバーの満足度を高めていきます。






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by Mari Iwata |

While law firms weren’t caught completely off-guard by the COVID-19 pandemic, its extended duration has caused many to rethink how they are delivering services to clients, in addition to making the most of their remote workforce. While the past 18 months have brought both challenges as well as more pleasant discoveries, lawyers can agree that how they work has changed permanently.