Virtually Impossible: The Many Barriers to Multi-Jurisdictional Virtual Legal Practice

By Krystian Seebert 

I. Introduction

Imagine that a client schedules a consultation with his lawyer. After listening to the client’s story, the attorney advises the client, and the two conclude their meeting.  This is a standard consultation, right?  Wrong.  Thanks to the power of modern technology, the client and his lawyer do not have to meet face-to-face.  In fact, the lawyer’s permanent Virtual Legal Office (“VLO”) could be halfway across the country from the client.[1]

If such a meeting really happened, ABA Model Rule 5.5 (the “Rule”) requires that the lawyer be admitted to the bar in the state of his or her office.[2]  Furthermore, other restrictions may require that the lawyer also operate a physical office in the state of his or her virtual practice.[3]

This article reviews how the current rules on the remote practice of law developed, examines the current state of the law governing virtual legal practice, and finally argues that overly-restrictive regulation of VLOs has negative policy implications for the modern world.

II. Background 

A lawyer’s ability to practice in a multistate VLO is limited by ethical codes that practicing lawyers must follow.[4]  However, the greater job market has increasingly moved towards remote work, especially with the advent of modern forms of electronic communication.[5]  This section will begin by examining relevant legal ethics, and then briefly turn to the history of the internet.

          A. Multijurisdictional Practice

In 1983, the American Bar Association (“ABA”) adopted the Model Rules of Professional Conduct (“Model Rules”) to modernize the practices and procedures of legal ethics.[6]  As of March 28, 2018, forty-nine states and certain United States territories, such as Guam, have adopted the Model Rules.[7]  Each state’s rules of professional conduct carry the force of law.[8]  The Rule was drafted to govern multijurisdictional practice.[9] In 1997, the ABA revised the Model Rules to reflect changes in legal practice.[10]  However, the revision most pertinent to the issue of multijurisdictional VLOs occurred in 2002, in response to a California case called Birbrower, Montalbano, Condon & Frank v. Superior Court (“Birbrower”).[11]

Birbrower and its aftermath

A landmark case in American multijurisdictional practice jurisprudence was Birbrower.[12]  Birbrower was the first case in California to decide whether out-of-state lawyers violate Section 6125 of the California Business and Professional Code (“Section 6125”), the state’s Rule equivalent at the time, by advising a California-based client. [13]  In that case, the California State Supreme Court held that the petitioner, attorneys who were licensed in New York but not California, illegally practiced law in their state because the petitioner had “sufficient contact” with the California client.[14]  This meant that one could practice law in California without being physically present in the state, through “telephone, fax, computer, or other modern technological means,” which particularly impacts VLOs.[15]

Birbrower produced a swift impact in the legal community.[16]  The decision had potentially wide-reaching ramifications for the multijurisdictional practice of law for a key reason: At the time of Birbrower, the Rule prohibited a lawyer from practicing law “where doing so violates the regulation of the legal profession in that jurisdiction.”[17]  The amendments to the Rule created exceptions that allow lawyers to practice in other jurisdictions.[18]  The revised Rule allows a lawyer, otherwise in good standing, to perform legal services in another state on a temporary basis if he or she meets at least one of the Rule’s four requirements.[19]

Today, the vast majority of states have adopted the amendments to the Rule.[20]  While some scholars predicted that the revisions would give lawyers more latitude to practice for multijurisdictional practice,[21] the exceptions can be considered narrow.  In fact, there is at least one expert who questions whether the petitioner from Birbrower would still violate the revised Rule. [22]  Nonetheless, the facts from Birbrower could be considered “reasonably related” to pending or potential proceedings in a jurisdiction where the attorney was licensed.[23]

Physical Office Requirements

In addition to the Rule’s requirements, some states have laws that require lawyers to establish traditional, “brick and mortar” offices within that state.[24]  For example, New York State has a statute that the state’s Court of Appeals of New York has interpreted to nonresident attorneys to maintain physical offices in the state.[25]  Similarly, Delaware has a requirement that attorneys keep a “bona fide” office in Delaware to practice law there.[26]  Those states’ restrictions have had their United States Constitutional challenges.[27]  However, the Delaware Supreme Court upheld their state’s physical office requirement in In re Barakat[28] and the United States Supreme Court declined to review New York’s physical office requirement.[29]

However, some states have comparatively liberal approaches to VLOs.[30]  For example, New Jersey allows lawyers licensed in the state, but neither residing nor maintaining a permanent physical office in New Jersey, to practice law in the state, provided that certain procedures are followed.[31]  Additionally, a California ethics opinion[32] allows for a lawyer, licensed in the state, to practice law there with no physical office at all, so long as the attorney complies with particular security measures.[33]

         B. The Internet and Telecommuting

Few would dispute that the internet is vital to the modern workplace.[34]

As internet use among Americans has grown, so too has the number of Americans “telecommuting.”[35]

Since the increase in telecommuting has disproportionately affected the well-educated[36], one would think that the legal profession would benefit from this trend as well.  The reality, however, is more of a mixed bag.  A 2010 ABA survey suggested that only 14% of lawyers primarily virtually practiced law.[37]  This percentage is considerably less than the 33.4% of Americans with weekly earnings of $1,441 or more worked from home.[38]  Moreover, a 2016 survey by the ABA indicates that 5% of American lawyers considered their practice to be “virtual.”[39]  While this survey’s results may show a marked decline in virtual legal practice, the ABA also noted that the survey results could instead indicate a paradigm shift in the legal profession, with lawyers simply thinking of high-technology assistance in legal practice as simply “practicing law.”[40]  Nevertheless, the risk of violating the Rule has been a recognized barrier to VLOs.[41]

III. Analysis

Birbrower proclaimed that the goal of California’s multijurisdictional practice rule is “to protect [the state’s] citizens from incompetent attorneys.”[42]  Hence, this section will begin by examining the Rule’s policy effects on this identified purpose.  This section will then investigate the myriad of other policy effects of the Rule that the Birbrower court did not or could not consider.

         A. Protecting Citizens from Incompetent Attorneys

Implicit in Birbrower is that the primary policy goal of the Rule (and its equivalents) is to protect a state’s residents from incompetent legal representation.[43]  In Birbrower, the petitioner argued that this policy goal is served by interpreting the rule as merely preventing non-attorneys from practicing law.[44]  Such an interpretation would always allow an attorney licensed in one state to perform work in another state, even if the attorney is unlicensed in the second state.[45]  The obvious flaw in such an interpretation is that laws can vary greatly from state to state.  Therefore, as the Birbrower court notes, the fact that a lawyer is competent in one jurisdiction does not necessarily mean that the same lawyer is competent in another jurisdiction with different laws. [46] Thus, the petitioner’s view in Birbrower is problematic. Through this lens, requiring attorneys to have state licensure to practice law in the same state is good policy.

However, is it possible that an overly broad interpretation of the Rule could force competent lawyers out of practice?  Recall the consultation imagined in the introduction.[47]  Now imagine the lawyer is physically located in New York, while the client is physically located in California.[48]  Yet this time, the hypothetical attorney is licensed in California, but not New York, and is advising his client on California law.  Put differently, the attorney is licensed to practice the state law on which he is advising his client.  Permitting such an arrangement would not conflict with the identified policy goal of the Rule.

Also pertinent to the status of out-of-state VLOs is the regulation of telecommuting and other remote work in the legal profession.[49]  For example, in Schoenefeld v. New York (“Schoenefeld”), a New York State statute was interpreted to prevent a New Jersey resident, admitted to the bar in New York State, from practicing law in the state unless she maintained a physical office in New York State.[50]  Rather than focusing on protecting New York residents from incompetent lawyers, the court focused on how the physical office requirement has historically made personal service on nonresident attorneys easier.[51]  Thus, the physical office requirement may be considered in the best interests of the state, not the state’s residents.[52]

Interestingly, it is likely legal in the state of California, the state where Birbrower was decided[53], for a state-licensed attorney to maintain a VLO in California regardless of whether he or she has a physical office.[54]  This is a “no‑brainer” of sorts.  If a lawyer is sufficiently competent to practice law in the state, what difference would it make if she or he advises her clients through in‑person meetings or electronic means?

In short, the state that articulated the purpose of regulating multijurisdictional legal practice has approved of VLOs.  Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that strictly limiting licensed attorneys’ virtual practice rights does not significantly promote Birbrower’s identified policy goal of protecting state residents from incompetent legal representation.

         B. The Effects of Telecommuting

Since relaxed VLO regulation would likely increase telecommuting among lawyers[55], this article will next examine the effects of telecommuting.  Telecommuting’s impact on society can generally be organized into three categories: 1) Economic, 2) Environmental, and 3) Managerial.[56]  This section will examine each category in turn.

Economic Effects of Telecommuting

Strictly in financial terms, telecommuting has many benefits.  Because telecommuting reduces the need for a physical workspace, it can reduce overhead costs and increase profit margins.[57]  For employees, telecommuting makes economic sense because it saves them costs associated with traditional commuting.  This is true for both opportunity costs associated with time spent commuting, and for commuting’s associated financial costs, such as buying gasoline.[58]

In the legal industry, increased telecommuting could provide greater legal service availability in underserved communities, like those in rural America.[59]  This shortage may be partially due to young lawyers desiring bigger cities.[60]  Some rural attorneys support this theory.[61]

In economic terms, one might think of the attorney scarcity in rural America and other underserved communities as excess demand and a shortage of supply.[62]  Although perhaps not ideal, increased telecommuting abilities among lawyers can help to mitigate this shortage.  An increase in VLOs and the subsequent observation of their effects is needed to have a truly empirical understanding of the VLOs’ effect on underserved areas.  For now, it suffices to say that reduced obstacles to VLOs are a tool to promote legal services in underserved communities.

Finally, this article would be remiss not to mention the catastrophic effects that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the global economy.[63]  This devastation demonstrates that preventing or controlling outbreaks will have economic benefits.  To slow the transmission of viral illnesses, health authorities have advocated “social distancing.”[64]  In other words, they advocate staying at least stay six feet away from other people whenever possible, to avoid the spread of disease.[65]  Since telecommuting, including working from a VLO, limits physical contact it can help prevent future outbreaks of viral diseases.

Environmental Effects of Telecommuting

Telecommuting among lawyers is beneficial to the environment if one only considers the resulting decreased gasoline usage among lawyers.[66] However, the actual environmental impacts are more nuanced: For example, internet use requires electricity, both for the user’s device and for the servers that host the website.[67]  This electricity has to be derived from a power source, and many of those sources are not “green.”[68]  To illustrate, a substantial portion of American electricity is generated by fossil fuels.[69]  By comparison, nuclear energy and all renewable energy sources combined for less than 40% of America’s electricity generation.[70]  In this way, a telecommuter’s computer use may contribute to his or her fossil fuel consumption, even if his or her commute does not.  However, the environmental cost‑benefit analysis must also consider that a 21st Century-lawyer will likely use a computer, either at home or at the office.  Through this lens, telecommuting seems like an environmental net positive.

On the other hand, telecommuting does not necessarily mean that one will work at home.  Some remote workers like to work at third places[71], like coffee shops.[72]  If the third place is farther than the attorney’s office, then the attorney’s carbon footprint would likely be enlarged.  Perhaps this is why at least one study has found that telecommuters have more “vehicle miles traveled” than their non-telecommuting counterparts.[73]

To be sure, telecommuting’s effect on the environment is more complicated than one might initially think, and further research is needed,  For now, it is safe to say that telecommuting can help to reduce fossil fuel consumption among remote workers in general and attorneys specifically, provided that the workers are not using their freedom to travel greater distances than they otherwise would have.  Furthermore, the environmental benefits of telecommuting can be intensified by the adoption of cleaner electricity sources.

Managerial Effects of Telecommuting

Telecommuting’s effects on workers have been a point of interest for both employees and employers alike.[74]  At the core of this debate lie two competing theories.  They are: 1) Telecommuting makes employees less productive; 2) Telecommuting makes employees more productive.[75]

On the one hand, the office space has its own, unique distractions that can be avoided by working at home or in a “third place.[76]”  On the other hand, some managers are concerned about the perceived lack of control over remote workers.[77]

To resolve the two conflicting conceptualizations, the research suggests that telecommuting increases worker productivity.[78]  Some of the strongest support for telecommuting’s positive effect on worker productivity comes from a 2003 meta-analysis[79] that supports the hypothesis that telecommuters are more productive than their traditional workspace counterparts.[80]  However, this study is nearly two decades old as of 2020, and the idea should be revisited.[81]

IV. Conclusion

The hypothetical scenario described in the introduction[82] is unusual when compared to traditional legal practices.  While change can be difficult, even scary, the legal profession should embrace telecommuting.[83]

Barriers to VLOs should be eliminated.  Restrictions on VLOs are not especially helpful for protecting clients from incompetent lawyers[84] and physical office requirements may be unconstitutional.[85]  The liberalization of VLO regulation, and the resulting rise in telecommuting among lawyers[86],  may cause many benefits including increased legal representation in underserved areas. [87]  It may even help save the world.[88]

Modern VLO regulation is heavily based on a case from the 1990s, a time much different than the current day.[89]  The modern world is increasingly accepting of telecommuting and remote work.[90]  It is time for the legal profession to move past the 20th Century by deregulating VLOs and embracing telecommuting.


[1] See Jordana Hausman, Note, Who’s Afraid of the Virtual Lawyers? The Role of Legal Ethics in the Growth and Regulation of Virtual Law Offices, 25 Geo. J. Legal Ethics 575, 575 (“ In a 2010 survey, 14 percent of lawyers practiced virtually, reporting that rather than working from a traditional brick-and-mortar law office, they worked with clients via the Internet and only rarely met clients in person.”).

[2] Model Rules of Prof’l Conduct R. 5.5(b)(2).

[3] E.g., N.Y. Jud § 470 (Consol. 2019).

[4] E.g., Model Rules of Prof’l Conduct R. 5.5(b)(2).

[5] Dan Kopf, The Best Commute: Slowly but Surely, Working at Home is Becoming More Common, Quartz (Sept. 17, 2018), https://qz.com/work/1392302/more-than-5-of-americans-now-work-from-home-new-statistics-show/.

[6] Lisa G. Lerman & Philip G. Schrag, Ethical Problems in the Practice of Law 37 (4th ed. 2016).

[7] ABA, Alphabetical List of Jurisdictions Adopting Model Rules, https://www.americanbar.org/groups/professional_responsibility/publications/model_rules_of_professional_conduct/alpha_list_state_adopting_model_rules/ (last visited Oct. 11, 2019).

[8] See, e.g., Ill. Sup. Ct. R. Prof’l Conduct, Preamble[19] (“Failure to comply with an obligation or prohibition imposed by a Rule is a basis for invoking the disciplinary process.”).

[9] Model Rules of Prof’l Conduct R. 5.5(b)(2).

[10] See Lerman & Schrag, supra note 6, at 37 (explaining how the ABA updated the Model Rules in 1997).

[11] Id. at 890.

[12] See id. (“The Birbrower decision. . . . produced an amendment to Model Rule 5.5”).

[13] Birbrower, Montalbano, Condon & Frank v. Superior Court, 17 Cal. 4th 119, 124 (Cal. Sup. Ct. 1998).

[14] Id.

[15] Id.

[16] Lerman & Schrag, supra note 6, at 890. (“The Birbrower decision . . . . produced an amendment to Model Rule 5.5”).

[17] Stephen Gillers, It’s an MJP World: Model Rules Revisions Open the Door for Lawyers to Work Outside Their Home Jurisdictions, A.B.A. J. 51 (Dec. 2002).

[18] Id. (emphasis added).

[19] Id.

[20] Lerman & Schrag, supra note 6, at 891.

[21] E.g., Gillers, supra note 17.

[22] Lerman & Schrag, supra note 6, at 891.

[23] Model Rules of Prof’l Conduct R. 5.5(c)(2).

[24] See, e.g., Schoenefeld v. New York, 25 N.Y. 3d 22, 26 (2015) (“[W]e interpret the statute as requiring nonresident attorneys to maintain a physical law office within the State.”).

[25] Schoenefeld, 25 N.Y. 3d at 26.

[26] Del. Sup. Ct. R. 12.

[27] See In re Barakat, 99 A.3d 639, 644 (Del. 2013) (“Finally, [the respondent] appears to suggest that [Delaware] Supreme Court Rule 12. . . . imposes an unconstitutional residency requirement, and violates the commerce clause of the United States Constitution.”)

[28] Id.

[29] Schoenefeld v. Schneiderman, 137 S. Ct. 1580 (2017)

[30] Lerman & Schrag, supra note 6, at 893.

[31] N.J. Super. Ct. R. 1:21.

[32] While ethics opinions are nonbinding, they are highly persuasive to courts.  See State Bar of Cal., Ethics Opinions, https://www.calbar.ca.gov/Attorneys/Conduct-Discipline/Ethics/Opinions (last visited Jan. 23, 2020) (“These advisory opinions regarding the ethical propriety of hypothetical attorney conduct, although not binding, are often cited in the decisions of the Supreme Court, the State Bar Court Review Department and the Court of Appeal.”).

[33] State Bar of Cal. Standing Comm. on Prof’l Responsibility & Conduct, Formal Op. 2012-184 at *4, *8.

[34] See Kristen Purcell and Lee Rainie, Technology’s Impact on Workers, Pew Research Center (Dec. 30, 2014), https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2014/12/30/technologys-impact-on-workers/ (indicating that 61% of workers surveyed find that email is “very important” to their job, and that 54% of workers find that the internet is “very important” to their job).

[35] See Kopf, supra note 5 (explaining that 5.2% of American workers worked at home in 2017, which was an increase from the 5% share in 2016, and the 3.3% share in 2000).

[36] Id.; Sarah Kessler, The Flexibility Divide: Working From Home is a Rich-People Thing, Quartz (June 28, 2017), https://qz.com/1015947/working-from-home-is-a-rich-people-thing/ (showing that 33.4% of Americans with weekly earnings of $1,441 or more worked from home).

[37] Hausman, supra note 1.

[38] Kessler, supra note 36.

[39] Chad Burton, 2016 Virtual Law Practice, ABA (Dec. 1, 2016), https://www.americanbar.org/groups/law_practice/publications/techreport/2016/virtual_law_practice/.

[40] See id. (“The question is whether it matters if a lawyer considers their practice virtual or not.  If the label serves a purpose to help lawyers think differently about how they operate their business, then let’s keep it around.  If we are in a post-virtual scenario where lawyers just consider the way they operate in a mobile environment as “practicing law,” even better.”).

[41] See Hausman, supra note 1 at 587 (“Virtual legal practices are also sometimes seen as being more likely than traditional practices to raise the specter of inadvertent unauthorized practice of law (‘UPL’).”).

[42] Birbrower, Montalbano, Condon & Frank v. Superior Court, 17 Cal. 4th 119, 132 (Cal. Sup. Ct. 1998).  The California Supreme Court was not referring to Model Rule 5.5., but rather its equivalent, Section 6125.  Id.

[43] See id. (“Birbrower next argues that we do not further the statute’s intent and purpose–to protect California citizens from incompetent attorneys–by enforcing it against out-of-state attorneys.”).

[44] Id.

[45] See id. (“Birbrower argues that because out-of-state attorneys have been licensed to practice in other jurisdictions, they have already demonstrated sufficient competence to protect California clients.”).

[46] Id. (“Birbrower argues that because out-of-state attorneys have been licensed to practice in other jurisdictions, they have already demonstrated sufficient competence to protect California clients.  But Birbrower’s argument overlooks the obvious fact that other states’ laws may differ substantially from California law.  Competence in one jurisdiction does not necessarily guarantee competence in another.”).

[47] Supra Section I.

[48] See id. at 124 (“Birbrower is a professional law corporation incorporated in New York, with its principal place of business in New York. . . ESQ is a California corporation with its principal place of business in Santa Clara County.”)

[49] See, e.g., Schoenefeld v. New York, 25 N.Y. 3d 22, 26 (2015) (“[W]e interpret the statute as requiring nonresident attorneys to maintain a physical law office within the State.”).

[50] Id. at 28.

[51] Id.

[52] See Lerman & Schrag, supra note 6, at 894 (“[The ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20] stated that it would examine the “pros and cons of state-based national licensure” . . . . The Commission concluded, however, that “there remain strong reasons to maintain our state-based system of judicial regulation.””).

[53] Id. at 124.

[54] State Bar of Cal. Standing Comm. on Prof’l Responsibility & Conduct, Formal Op. 2012-184.  Although the opinion was not clear about the attorney’s physical location, it did make clear that the attorney planned “not to communicate with her clients by phone, e-mail or in person, but to limit communications solely to the internet portal through a function that allows attorney and client to send communications directly to each other within the internet portal.”  Id. at *1.  The State Bar of California Standing Committee on Profession Responsibility and Conduct also acknowledges that the fact pattern presented in the opinion may lead to multijurisdictional practice issues and advised attorneys to “consider how their VLO services might implicate rules and regulations regarding the unauthorized practice of law of other jurisdictions.”  Id. at *2 n.5.

[55] See Tomas Suros, Why More Law Firms Will Embrace Remote Work in 2019, Law360, http://www.law360.com/articles/1113890/why-more-law-firms-will-embrace-remote-work-in-2019 (Jan. 1, 2019, 11:03 AM CST) (“In years past, legal firms were traditionally slower to embrace and foster flexible workplace practices. It was not feasible for attorneys to work remotely, largely due to the heavily regulated nature of the industry, compliance issues and other barriers.”).

[56] See Patricia Pickett, The Pros and Cons of Telecommuting, Balance Careers, http://www.thebalancecareers.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-telecommuting-what-works-for-you-2071999 (last updated May 14, 2019) (explaining that companies often permit telecommuting because of its cost-effectiveness, to increase worker productivity, and to promote an environment-friendly culture).

[57] See Andrea Loubier, Benefits of Telecommuting for the Future of Work, Forbes (July 20, 2017, 11:58 am), http://www.forbes.com/sites/andrealoubier/2017/07/20/benefits-of-telecommuting-for-the-future-of-work/#4bcf514116c6 (“Telecommuting helps reduce operating costs, cash in on the appeal factor and boost [a company’s] bottom line.”).

[58] See id. (explaining that telecommuting reduces workers’ carbon footprint and generally boosts their morale).

[59] April Simpson, Wanted: Lawyers for Rural America, Pew (June 26, 2019), http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2019/06/26/wanted-lawyers-for-rural-america.

[60] Id.

[61] Id.

[62] For a refresher on the Laws of Supply and Demand, see International Monetary Fund, What Is Supply and Demand?, YouTube (Dec. 7, 2017), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Wp-diDRVKI.

[63] See, e.g., Maired McArdle, Markets Suffer Worst Day of COVID-19 Crisis as Stocks Nosedive, Nat’l Rev. (Mar. 15, 2020. 5:23 PM), https://www.nationalreview.com/news/coronavirus-outbreak-markets-suffer-worst-day-of-crisis-as-stocks-nosedive/ (explaining the devastating effect that COVID-19 had on the stock market).

[64] Cleveland Clinic, COVID-19: Understanding Quarantine, Isolation and Social Distancing in a Pandemic, HealthEssentials (Mar. 13, 2020), https://health.clevelandclinic.org/covid-19-understanding-quarantine-isolation-and-social-distancing-in-a-pandemic/.

[65] Id.

[66] See Manuela Pérez Pérez Et Al., The Environmental Impacts of Teleworking: A Model of Urban Analysis and a Case Study, ProQuest (“[I]n the UK a study of the company British Telecom found commuting reductions of 150 kilometres by private vehicles and 230 kilometres by train during a two days average teleworking programme.”).

[67]  Christopher Helman, Berkeley Lab: It Takes 70 Billion Kilowatt Hours A Year to Run the Internet, Forbes (June 28, 2016), https://www.forbes.com/sites/christopherhelman/2016/06/28/how-much-electricity-does-it-take-to-run-the-internet  (“America’s myriad server farms and data centers operate 100 million drives that hold 350 million terabytes of data — everything from your decade-old emails to lolcat videos and the collected offerings of Netflix.  A new report from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory figures that those data centers use an enormous amount of energy — some 70 billion kilowatt hours per year.”); see also Whitson Gordo, How Much Electricity Does Your PC Consume?, PC Magazine (Feb. 8, 2019), https://www.pcmag.com/how-to/how-much-electricity-does-your-pc-consume (instructing readers on how to calculate how much electricity their computers use).

[68] U.S. Energy Info. Admin, What is U.S. Electricity Generation by Energy Source, https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=427&t=3 (last visited Feb 8, 2020).

[69] Id.

[70] Id.

[71] “Third place” is a term that Starbucks uses to describe “welcoming public space[s].”  Starbucks Principles for Upholding the Third Place: For Our Partners, Our Customers and Our Communities, Starbucks, https://www.starbucks.com/responsibility/learn-more/policies/third-place (last visited Feb. 8, 2020).

[72] See Kristin Wong, How to Work on Your Laptop at a Coffee Shop Without Being a Jerk, Lifehacker (July 7, 2017, 1:00 PM), https://lifehacker.com/how-to-work-on-your-laptop-at-a-coffee-shop-without-bei-1796712438 (“More workers than ever are getting their stuff done remotely, and many coffee shops accommodate this work-from-wherever lifestyle, with fast and free Wi-Fi and large, communal tables complete with outlets.”).  Note that working on private client matters in public areas may put an attorney at risk of breaking ABA Model Rule 1.6(c).  Model Rules of Prof’l Conduct R. 1.6(c) (“A lawyer shall make reasonable efforts to prevent the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of, or unauthorized access to, information relating to the representation of a client.”).

[73] P. Zhu & S.G. Mason, The Impact of Telecommuting on Personal Vehicle Usage and Environmental Sustainability, 11 Int’l J. Envtl. Sci. Tech. 2185, 2185 (2014).

[74] Loubier, supra note 57.

[75] Pickett, supra note 56.

[76] See Loubier, supra note 57 (“From distractions like water cooler gossip to excessive commuting, health problems and more.  Workers are finding it harder than ever to hit maximum productivity in a traditional office work environment.  The solution?  Telecommuting.”).

[77] See Pickett, supra note 56 (“Causes of concern include. . . . [how employers] can’t control how workers use their time.  This leads to worries about lost productivity.”).

[78] E. Sonny Butler et al., Does Telecommuting Improve Productivity?, 50 Comm. ACM 101, 101–03.

[79] A meta-analysis is “an analysis combining the results of several studies that address a set of related hypotheses.”  Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper: Glossary of Research Terms, U. Southern Cal. Libraries, https://libguides.usc.edu/writingguide/researchglossary (last visited Feb. 9, 2020).

[80] E. Sonny Butler et al., supra note 78, at 101–03.

[81] Id.

[82] Section I.

[83] Kopf, supra note 5 (describing how telecommuting is becoming increasingly common among American workers).

[84] Supra Section III.A.

[85] Supra Section III.C; see also Philadelphia v. New Jersey, 437 U.S. 617, 624 (1978) (“Thus, where simple economic protectionism is effected by state legislation, a virtually per se rule of invalidity has been erected.”).

[86] See Suros, supra note 55 (“In years past, legal firms were traditionally slower to embrace and foster flexible workplace practices. It was not feasible for attorneys to work remotely, largely due to the heavily regulated nature of the industry, compliance issues and other barriers.”).

[87] Supra Section III.B.i; see also Simpson, supra note 59 (explaining how some think that many attorneys do not want to practice in rural areas).

[88] See Manuela Pérez Pérez Et Al., supra note 66 (explaining that telecommuting is linked with fewer miles traveled); Cleveland Clinic, supra note 64 (explaining that “social distancing” is a precaution against the spread of COVID-19).

[89] Lerman & Schrag, supra note 7, at 890.

[90] Kopf, supra note 5.