Running a virtual law office requires both skill and the right mindset. Learn about what is required of lawyers who are making the switch from a brick and mortar law firm to a virtual office.
Even though your solo law firm may actually be a virtual law office, that is no reason to think of it as any less “real” than traditional law offices. Rather, it can be argued that virtual law offices require not only the skills you possess as an attorney but also a forward-thinking entrepreneurial spirit, which embraces the benefits that modern technology brings to your law firm.
Learn how a virtual law office can benefit your firm, as well as the first steps you need to take to launch your own virtual law office.
Advantages of a Virtual Law Office
Solo law firms choose to operate as virtual law offices for a variety of reasons. Here are just a few considerations that make virtual law offices a great idea:
- Reduced expenses: Virtual law offices reduce overhead for solo firms in terms of rented office space, additional staff, and office supplies.
- Flexibility: Virtual law offices enable attorneys to work from anywhere at any time. Providing attorneys with increased opportunities both for growing revenue and maintaining a less stressful work/life balance.
- Convenient: Virtual law offices enable attorneys to connect with clients via their preferred methods. Including emails, text messages, and online client portals.
The Basic Requirements for Starting a Virtual Law Office
Before you embark on a virtual law office project, it makes sense to take stock and see if it is really a viable option for you. Not every lawyer feels comfortable with technology, and in your virtual law office, technology needs to be your best friend. If you have the skills or the willingness to acquire the skills to run a virtual law firm, you have already won half the battle.
TotalAttorneys.com suggests that you research any ethical questions you have about running a virtual law office. Your state bar association will be an excellent resource to use in this regard.
A well-designed website will be the foundation upon which your virtual law office is built. Therefore, it is essential to work with a good web designer. Together you can determine what should be included on your website, who will handle content creation, and make sure it has a positive user experience.
Additionally, you must invest time and money into the security of your site on an ongoing basis. Just as you guard client information in a physical office, you must protect the online interactions you have with your clients and their data.
Software to Run Your Virtual Law Office
You will also need to find appropriate software solutions for your virtual law office. Generally, it is best to find software that will accommodate your established workflows and business processes. This will help you transition from a physical law firm to a virtual one with minimal disruption.
The ABA’s “Launching a Virtual Law Firm” suggests the following types of software help you run your virtual law office:
- Practice management software that includes time and billing, calendars, contacts, reporting, and bank account management tasks.
- Document management software.
- An online client portal or delivery system.
- Social engagement tools.
Ideally, the software solutions you choose will integrate with each other and with your established workflows.
Leveraging Shared Office Space for Your Firm
Even virtual law offices have need of a physical location now and again. This is where shared office space comes into play. Shared office space gives your virtual firm:
- A physical address that reassures clients.
- A central place for mail delivery.
- A shared receptionist to field client calls.
- Office space or conference rooms for client consultations as needed.
- Increased opportunities for collaboration and referrals from other solo law firms sharing office space.
Running a virtual law office requires attention to detail, technological acumen, and an ability to embrace a forward-thinking mindset. So if you are ready to make the switch to a virtual law office, these tools and advice will help get your practice off to a great start.