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MyVirtual.Lawyer for Attorneys

MyVirtual.Lawyer

for Attorneys

Divorce Law

Many lawyers are looking for a more fulfilling law practice because they are frustrated with a traditional law firm model. Or, they are looking for innovative ways to grow their law firm. If this is your situation, then consider becoming a virtual lawyer. Actually, even if you are satisfied with your current firm, you should look into expanding into virtual legal services because of societal and market changes. Being a virtual law firm provides a new way to interact with clients and new services to meet the growing demands of a widely untapped segment of the legal market. Plus, it can be much more fulfilling for both the client and attorney.

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What Is A Virtual Lawyer / Virtual Law Firm?

Most importantly, a virtual lawyer is a real lawyer – just the same as any lawyer that practices in a traditional setting. The differences between a virtual law firm and a traditional one can be quite varied, depending on the firm. To keep it simple, we will use the definition provided by the eLawyering Task Force of the ABA, which stipulates that the concept of a virtual law firm is one where there’s a secure client portal that’s attached to a law firm’s website.

Advantages to Being A Virtual Lawyer

It’s less expensive for lawyers.

The price tag of running a virtual law firm is probably the easiest benefit to see up front. Without overhead costs, a firm can increase profit. A virtual firm can save money by getting rid of rent or a mortgage for office space, bundling technology services, and outsourcing staff.

It frees up time for the rest of your life.

With a virtual law firm, you can save time through automating processes. You can control the hours you work, how many, when, and where. Work hours can flex around activities, kid’s schedules, vacations, or illness.

It can provide healthy mental benefits for lawyers.

Being able to work when and where you want can increase productivity and reduce stress. You will learn new skills and can free yourself from office politics and dress codes. It’s also likely you will actually work less hours, which will definitely improve your general mood!

It benefits your business.

You can open up greater flexibility to transition between stages in your business and types of services offered. Since you aren’t only in one physical location, you can also serve a wider client base because you can reach people who are farther away.

It benefits your clients.

By offering an open line of communication, you’re giving your clients reassurance that you are always available, which can be a relief. Many of your services could cost your clients less, since there is less of a demand on your firm’s finances. Ultimately, virtual firms can make legal services available to a much broader segment of the population than traditional firms can by offering flat fees and unbundled services, which also reduce the cost to the client.

It’s healthier for the environment.

Virtual firms are eco-friendly because they generate less office waste, possibly being completely paper-free. Lawyers can shorten or eliminate their commute altogether, resulting in a smaller carbon footprint.

It expands and improves your team.

As a virtual law firm, you can recruit and maintain the the team you want, regardless of their location. You can find the best talent and fit for you personally.

How Does A Virtual Law Firm Function?

Each law firm and attorney is different, so there are wide variations in how virtual law firms function. Some firms add in a virtual piece to their overall business strategy and offer certain services that way. They may automate their processes with software solutions or by moving them online, while continuing to maintain a physical office. A firm could land anywhere along the spectrum all the way to completely virtual, like MyVirtual.Lawyer.

Virtual Law Firms Work From Anywhere

When a firm is 100 percent virtual like ours, you do not have any brick-and-mortar locations. Work can be done remotely from home offices, coffee shops, or even your couch. We do have a UPS box mailing address that provides a physical street address for business mailings or listings and to appease Google’s algorithms.

Once you have secure technology and processes in place, you can literally work from anywhere. Even if only part of your law firm is virtual, you can still cut down on time in a physical office.

Virtual Law Firms Connect Through a Client Portal

Access to a secure client portal is the cornerstone of a virtual law firm. Without this, you are unable to guarantee that you can protect lawyer-client confidentiality. A client portal is secure space, where data passes from the web browser to the server in an encrypted format. Most of your interactions with clients will happen here. Essentially, it’s the same sort of space as an online banking service or other similar websites; the client and the business agree that sensitive information is protected there, and that communication is easier because of the direct pathway between them. 

Through a secure portal, clients can review documents that a lawyer has prepared for them, upload a document for the lawyer’s review, pay their bills online, and communicate with their lawyer quickly and easily. In addition, some new applications enable the client to perform certain tasks within that portal For example, they can fill out a set of questions which will automatically create a document ready for the lawyer’s review. 

We meet with clients initially via phone or videoconferencing. Once a client is set up in our client portal, the client has direct access to their attorney through the messaging feature. All further communication and correspondence happen there. 

Virtual Law Firms Perform Transactional Work

Transactional work, also known as unbundled services or limited scope representation, is currently the best fit for virtual law firm models. Of course, your firm could offer limited scope services and full service arrangements, that’s entirely up to you. Our firm is entirely transactional, even for litigation-based practice areas. Our limited scope representation services delegate administrative tasks to the client while we handle the transactional legal components of their case, so in-person interactions are not necessary.

Virtual Law Firms Embrace Technology

Part of having a virtual law firm is embracing technology to have a leaner, lighter practice. There are many technology solutions that will further your productivity and keep staffing costs down.

  • Online calendaring for consultations
  • Virtual reception services to answer calls / schedule consultations
  • Client portal / practice management software
  • Video conferencing
  • Cloud document sharing and storage
  • Encrypted messaging and management tools
  • Online payments

What is It Like To Be A Virtual Lawyer?

At our firm, all our attorneys take accountability for their role in building the MVL brand. Before new attorneys or licensees join us, we make sure they understand our law firm model, embrace the same passion for our services and have the entrepreneurial work ethic it takes to succeed. We encourage feedback, communication and collaboration within our community. We are responsive and make sure our attorneys know they are appreciated. We also have realistic expectations for, and empathy towards, our team. We are real and transparent, and I think our attorneys appreciate that. We also market our firm to attorneys who could benefit from our model to start or continue to meaningfully practice law. It also helps that our attorneys retain control over their practices, instantly join a collaborative community and, most importantly, they can work in their pajamas.

Why virtual law firms are on the rise

The world has changed

Technology has upended many traditional business models: banking, travel, retail. The legal profession has been slower to be affected, but it’s inevitable that our culture will keep moving in that direction. There is a growing demand to use technology for efficient legal services. In addition, there’s a rise in the popularity of unbundled legal services (flat fee, transactional), which are easier to provide online. 

Really, it comes back to the business concepts of profitability, efficiency & productivity for your firm. What is going to carry your business into the future? Every law firm should have an aspect of their practice that’s online. Completely virtual firms are gaining ground as a quickly growing legal model.

Clients expect it

Already, younger clients expect to be able to work with anyone, including their lawyer, online. More and more people are born everyday who will never know life without the internet. You may be at the point in your life where you are simply hoping to age out of practicing law before you have to make the switch to virtual lawyering. However, for most of us the change will have to be made during our business lifetimes. If you’re going to survive and thrive as a law firm, you should go ahead and begin moving toward virtual lawyering.

How to get started as a virtual law firm

First, ask some questions.

The very first thing you should do when considering virtual lawyering is think through your business model and target markets. Ask yourself the following questions and take time to flesh out your answers.

What types of law do you practice that will transition to virtual lawyering?

What aspects of your practice will be improved through automation?

What sorts of pricing can you offer through a virtual practice that you currently cannot?

How could you be creative about offering services?

Does your state have bona fide office requirements?

Next, consider and select your technology.

It’s important to understand your business plan before you jump into choosing a client portal or other services. Although there are many great technologies out there, you want to choose the one that fits your practice the best. Also, you don’t have to go all-in at once. It’s fine to take small steps along the way. In each step, remember to keep in mind your law firm business plan so that you can make sure the tech supports your goals.

Be lean and resourceful in your financial investments.

Go all in on technology, and regularly review that technology to make sure the tools you use are the best fit for your firm and your clients. Also, spend the time up front to learn your software so you can utilize it to the fullest, automate where you can and create workflows. Make sure to review all the policies, terms and conditions of your software providers. Being legally compliant with our ethical and procedural rules, as well as the security of information, is imperative.

Don’t forget about marketing. Since virtual lawyering is still a fairly unfamiliar concept, you will have a bit of an uphill battle in communicating how your firm does business and in marketing to new clients. File this under “learning new skills.”

One of the best free ways to market yourself is to become a resource who is willing to share knowledge, skills, and expertise — without billing for your time. While this may seem unattractive at first, you should think about it as a barter for public attention and awareness. Get comfortable on the internet. Write blog posts, stay active online, record podcasts. Share your thoughts and ideas, and those of others by writing and commenting on relevant articles for your practice area and clients.

Don’t forget about marketing.

Since virtual lawyering is still a fairly unfamiliar concept, you will have a bit of an uphill battle in communicating how your firm does business and in marketing to new clients. File this under “learning new skills.”

One of the best free ways to market yourself is to become a resource who is willing to share knowledge, skills, and expertise — without billing for your time. While this may seem unattractive at first, you should think about it as a barter for public attention and awareness. Get comfortable on the internet. Write blog posts, stay active online, record podcasts. Share your thoughts and ideas, and those of others by writing and commenting on relevant articles for your practice area and clients.

Things to consider

A big mistake some attorneys make is taking a traditional law firm model mindset and applying it to a virtual law firm model. This tends to limit the growth and potential that comes along with fully embracing a virtual law firm model. Along with that often comes unnecessary overhead. 

Because a virtual law firm should help you reduce your overhead, consider clients in that savings. Value your time and experience but pass along some of those savings to clients. Oh, and if you are considering virtual lawyering, make sure to first check your jurisdiction’s bona fide office requirements because some states still restrict or do not allow law firms to operate without a physical office space.

Going virtual will take time and effort. You will have to learn new technologies, and/or hire people to help you with it. You have to work at it to get it right, and the learning curve is steep. In addition, you need to be able to drive a considerable amount of traffic to your website. Again, this is a skill that you will need to either learn or hire out.

MyVirtual.Lawyer can help

If you’re interested in virtual lawyering, you don’t have to start from scratch like we did. As a MVL Partner Firm, you don’t have to spend time figuring out workflows or being overwhelmed by all of the technology options. We have created the systems and processes for you, using our own law firm as a guinea pig to test the market and the tech, so that you can focus on your clients and build a law firm around your life.

With our help, attorneys can create a sustainable, flexible, limited scope representation (aka unbundled) law practice from scratch or added as a component of their existing practice. Best of all, it’s not one-size-fits-all. We help design your virtual, limited scope services to fit within your individual law practice and objectives.

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