In recent years, lawyers have benefited more and more from remote work’s flexibility. Being a virtual lawyer is more prevalent as attitudes regarding traditional, physical law offices change.
There are benefits to being a virtual lawyer. Lawyers can work faster, more effectively, and save time since they are not bound to a typical workplace. Lawyers can move between offices for clients, notaries, and courts concurrently. However, while working virtually, lawyers should also think about how they will handle communication, ethics, and firm security.
However, what exactly does it mean to be a virtual lawyer? Would helping more legal clients be easier and more effective with a virtual law firm? Continue reading to find out more.
What Exactly is a Virtual Lawyer?
A virtual attorney can run their own virtual law practice or largely work from home for another one. In order to adhere to the eLawyering Task Force of the ABA’s definition of a virtual law firm, virtual attorneys must maintain a secure client portal. There is a distinction between occasionally working remotely as a lawyer and being a virtual lawyer, even though the concepts sound similar. The most important distinction is in how a legal practice interacts with clients online.
A secure client portal that is connected to a law firm’s website is a requirement set forth by the ABA’s eLawyering Task Force for virtual law firms. The secure client portal of a virtual attorney must be private, encrypted, and password-required. Clients and attorneys can communicate, share documents, and cooperate through this secure client portal.
What are the Advantages of Working as a Virtual Lawyer?
Being a virtual lawyer is becoming more and more popular because of a variety of advantages, such as:
You can operate remotely from any location when you own a virtual business. Your law practice will operate more effectively if you can work from any location, including from home or while you’re on the go. Being a virtual lawyer gives you the freedom to do tasks even when you’re not at your desk in the office.
Virtual lawyers can work whenever and wherever they need to because they are not restricted to the standard nine to five business hours. Working from multiple locations and at different times can benefit lawyers who have children or other commitments that need a more flexible schedule. To be a virtual lawyer allows for a better work-life balance.
The benefit of operating a virtual law company is that you avoid paying for a huge office space, even if your jurisdiction does not mandate that you have a physical office location (more on this later). You don’t need to spend as much money on office supplies and maintenance when you don’t have an actual office location, such as huge printers and fax machines. Because virtual law firms frequently employ cloud-based software to allow virtual work, there are fewer costs associated with things like on-premise servers.
Going virtual can decrease your company’s carbon impact in a number of different ways. You can reduce your driving-related emissions if you don’t commute to work every day. You can drastically minimize the amount of paper used by your company by digitizing customer intake forms and document management.
Improved Client Communication
Your legal services may be more accessible through virtual meetings. Not all customers can or want to meet in person. Your clients will appreciate the greater convenience if you can host virtual meetings. Clients who may not actually be in town or who have mobility challenges can nonetheless take part in meetings with you. Because they are more practical, virtual meetings promote more regular lawyer-client connection, which is essential for improved client communication in law firms.
How Do You Become a Virtual Lawyer?
Having a virtual law practice has several benefits. However, you must take into account more than just how to organize your new law business workspace. You must be aware of the regulations, develop a plan, and carry it out carefully to be effective as a virtual attorney.
- Understand the regulations and ethics of being a virtual lawyer.
- Create a roadmap for becoming a virtual solo practitioner.
- Discover how to leave a conventional law firm.
How Do You Service Clients As a Virtual Lawyer?
Attorneys aren’t the only ones who benefit from virtual legal companies. More people can receive legal assistance from virtual attorneys in the methods they prefer, which improves the client experience overall.
Clients are becoming more and more interested in the practical experience that virtual law offices can offer when it comes to legal services, including:
The Online Customer Portal
As was previously said, a virtual law office needs a secure web portal where you may share information and connect with customers. Consumers of today seek out attorneys who can provide this as well. 69% of clients prefer working with a lawyer who can transmit papers electronically via a website, app, or online portal, according to the 2020 Legal Trends Report.
Giving clients online access to their cases in a secure manner benefits both clients and attorneys. Because they can access and verify their own case information, clients can have a better overall experience. A virtual client portal also spares lawyers the time they could have otherwise spent updating clients.
Software for Managing Documents
Virtual law companies require secure access to case files from anywhere. Utilizing cloud-based document management technologies, virtual attorneys (such as OneDrive, or Dropbox).
For instance, the cloud-based document management system from Wesignature manage provides limitless document storage. You may use your laptop or smartphone to access your client’s papers anywhere.
Software for managing documents in the cloud is more convenient for clients and contributes to a more seamless legal experience. Wesignature is an electronic signature software for lawyers to help clients sign papers more quickly and easily in specific circumstances, in addition to quickly sharing legal documents over the secure web portal.
While in-person discussions may still be held, videoconferencing enables virtual lawyers to assist more clients wherever they are.
According to the 2020 Legal Trends Report, 37% of clients prefer virtual consultations or initial meetings with attorneys. Additionally, 50% of customers prefer video conferences for follow-up meetings. Working digitally can save lawyers time while providing clients with the experience they want.
Your Law Firm and Clients will Profit If You Work as Virtual
For lawyers, working remotely is no longer only a theoretical concept. Working virtually is achievable with secure cloud-based technology—and, in many cases, preferable.
While operating a virtual law business or working remotely on occasion are both viable options for virtual lawyers, they still require a secure online client portal. Because of regulations mandating a real office presence in their jurisdiction, not all businesses are permitted to be 100% virtual. However, most companies can adopt parts of virtual law firms with careful planning and preparation to gain the advantages of greater flexibility for lawyers—and a better, more convenient experience for clients.
In light of this, if you’re considering whether or not you may succeed as a virtual lawyer, start by becoming familiar with the laws in your region and developing a business plan. Going virtual could enable you to assist more clients while enjoying cheaper costs and a better work-life balance with the correct digital tools and plans for communication and marketing.