Virtual assistants can help solo lawyers to quickly scale up their firm’s but only if managed the right way. Follow this article to learn more!
More and more lawyers are using the skills and help of virtual assistants every day. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states there are nearly four million assistants in the United States alone, and lawyers are relying on them more than ever for time-consuming non-legal tasks like copywriting, scheduling consultations to write and sending marketing emails.
There are many reasons why so many solos and small firm lawyers are turning to virtual assistants. First, virtual assistants typically don’t cost as much as hiring full-time staff. This is because virtual assistants don’t require benefits, extensive compensation packages, or office space. It might also come as a surprise to learn that virtual assistants have been proven to help increase a law firm’s productivity. This is because the jobs that most virtual assistants complete are necessary for the firm, but can also be extremely tedious or time-consuming (sending thank you letters, answering the main phone line, setting up consultations). So by having a virtual assistant handle them, you will now have more time to do what you do best. Practice law!
Once you’ve hired a virtual assistant for your practice, it’s important to have a clear cut plan on how to manage them most effectively.
Make Training Simple
Training is by far the most important part of the hiring process, virtual assistant or not! If you don’t get the training right then your virtual assistant might not be as helpful as you’d hoped. Poor training can lead to mistakes that will slow everything down and kill your firm’s productivity. Where on the other hand, a well-trained virtual assistant can be like having a second set of hands, making your life and the day-to-day management of your firm far easier.
Chris Ducker, founder of Virtual Staff Finder has a solution for this called the VA Training Trifecta. This is his recommended training strategy that details three ways of disseminating information in a clear, concise manner so that your virtual staff can learn quickly and effectively. First are written instructions, such as email templates, and notes on the CRM. Second, are audio instructions, these include voice recordings, skype calls, and file sharing. The final part of the Trifecta is video, specifically screen sharing, video hangouts, and edited video instructions.
Every team member should have a clear understanding of the day’s tasks, which includes the virtual assistants who aren’t in the office every day too.
Schedule meetings for the same time at least every week but ideally every weekday. This will help the meetings to become habitual. You, or one of your managers, need to lead the meeting. Have someone that essentially knows what you expect or how things should be done. That way they can provide short and quick updates to you about what is going on, who is working on what, and what you can track your virtual assistant’s progress without having to spend tons of time on check-in calls and emails. But it is pretty obvious but meetings are also only effective if everyone shows up, so make it clear that attendance is mandatory and is part of every virtual assistant’s position.
Being remote workers, it’s more challenging to keep track of the metrics and performance of virtual assistants than in-house team members. So be sure to measure their performance using different metrics depending on their tasks. For example, If their job is to manage emailing leads and clients, keep track of the open and click rates of those email campaigns.
Also, try having them not only log hours for payroll purposes, but also have them record how much time they are spending tasks throughout the day. That way, you can tell where their time is spent and also let you know what tasks they excel at and which take them longer to accomplish. You can use this data to reorganize tasks and make sure everyone is working to their full potential
Use Project Management Software
One of the most helpful things you can do for your virtual assistants is to have a very clear project management system like Asana or Trello. If you want a certain task done a specific way then don’t leave it to chance or interpretation. Log each step of a given process, especially in the beginning. Then take it to the next level and break each part of that task into smaller steps so they know exactly how you want things done.
This way, everyone knows what is expected no matter the task. When there isn’t ambiguity in the daily tasks, it’s easier to let your virtual assistants do their thing so you can focus your time on other big-picture items.