What is the future of the legal virtual office in Maryland?
As technology continues to improve and virtual practice become more accepted by law firms and their clients, the legal profession will see firms adopting bits and pieces of virtual practice on an ever-increasing basis. Firms of tomorrow will borrow best practices developed by virtual law practice pioneers, spawning hybrid firms designed to meet professional needs and client demand.
Aspiring start-up firms
Lawyers starting practices on a shoestring budget will do so increasingly with a virtual office, foregoing the expense of a traditional office space (at least initially). The merits of this decision are subject to debate but, nevertheless, many attorneys choose a virtual office as a launchpad into a permanent office rental once they can afford it.
Firms seeking revenue in new cities
Non-lawyer legal form companies continue to eat up market share for low-end legal work and an increasing number of law firms will be competing for the more sophisticated legal work that remains. Forward thinking firms will seek profits by concentrating their practices on niches of niches, and will look to grow revenue by expanding into new cities. With over 6 million potential clients, Maryland is a prime place to expand and firms will look to create a “local” presence using a virtual office in Anne Arundel County. By doing so, they create economies of scale by keeping staff in their “home office” and minimize risk with a virtual office’s low cost and commitment.
Firms whose clients demand greater convenience
The easiest way to increase revenue is to do more business with existing clients (and their referrals). Customer service orientated law firms with a main office in suburban cities are opening offices in urban centers where many of their client work. This gives clients the convenience to conduct business with their attorney on a business day without having to take large blocks of time off from work. It also opens the door to getting referrals to the client’s coworkers, who may live in a different city than the lawyer’s main office in, say, Baltimore, but would work with the lawyer if they could meet closer to their home in Anne Arundel County. Firms leverage the on-site staff of the virtual office operator to help them with the logistics of running their satellite office, with minimal expense.
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