As millions of Americans are now finding themselves transitioning from working out of their offices to working remotely, I want to explore a thought that has been on my mind: building a productive workspace not only from home, but from virtually anywhere.
I’ve noticed this topic come up a number of times, most recently within business circles and particularly in regard to professional services. What I mean is: attorneys often identify and categorize themselves in relation to where their physical location is. I have personally felt limited by this label. Because my physical office is located in Tysons Corner, Virginia, I am viewed as a Washington DC-based attorney focusing on Mergers & Acquisitions.
I find this categorization as very limiting – as well as not correct. The inference becomes that I may not be able to work on a transaction that is located in New York for example.
I’d like to believe that this limitation, especially for attorneys, organically came from the prohibitive nature of a bar licensure…but if we put those prohibitions aside, we can begin to ask ourselves, “How much does one’s geography impact the role of a transactional attorney?” In today’s climate, in which we each carry our email inbox with us in our back pocket, I believe the answer is “Not as much as we might think.” Recently, I concluded an M&A transaction where the seller was based in Florida, the owner lived in Utah, the investment banker was Boston-based and I, of course, was based in Virginia, and the buying parties likewise were all over the United States.
Considering that almost 100% of my workload is derived from email, which can be answered and received from anywhere, my physical location matters less and less. As long as I can provide my clients with effective legal counsel, it is not relevant how close I am physically to them. With the advent of communication tools such as Slack, Trello, and Zoom, working out of a virtual office is becoming increasingly more mainstream.
Conducting business from a distance is nothing new, though it is becoming more common. In 2018, 4.5 million Americans reported that they had spent at least half of their working hours in a remote location.
I believe this is the reality for the majority of us working in professional services. In our current landscape, we conduct business across state lines, borders, and overseas. As long as one remains productive and committed to providing quality to their clients, the shift is seamless.
For me, the key is availability. Regardless if I’m working from the office, from home, or even the beach, my clients know that I am willing, able and available to help them with their legal transactions regardless of physical locations.
ABOUT MIKE MERCURIO
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Michael N. Mercurio is a leading attorney in the field of mergers and acquisitions (M&A). He serves as outside general counsel in buy-side and sell-side M&A, as well as in all business law and real estate law matters. As a strategic partner to firm clients, Mr. Mercurio regularly counsels entrepreneurial individuals and assorted entities on the many challenges, issues, and opportunities companies face throughout the business lifecycle—from start-up to eventual exit.
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