Law Firms Are Going Virtual
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The benefits of going virtual
More and more aspects of life are moving into a virtual space – entertainment, education, banking, public records, shopping, and even social lives. The increasing normalcy of conducting life and business online is changing daily routines, redefining the idea of community, and revolutionizing workforces.
The legal industry places great importance on tradition and formality, and as a result, is often slow to adopt changes that involve technology or anything perceived as unconventional.
However, as the world evolves into online spaces, many law firms are seeing the advantages of a virtual practice.
The world wide web is making the world both bigger and smaller; information is endless, the audience is vast, but all of it is so easily interconnected. Everyone and everything is online these days.
The global population of Internet users reached an incredible 4 billion as of April 2018 – there is simply no brick and mortar location with that kind of reach.
An online law practice has greater scalability, is more mobile and efficient, and significantly reduces upfront costs and monthly expenses.
The American Bar Association’s 2016 Tech Report defines a virtual law firm as having a lack of traditional office space, heavy web-based interactions, minimal in-person client contact, unbundled legal services, and secure client portals.
Although a lack of traditional office space can seem like an intimidating and impractical shift, there are many benefits to adopting such an alternative business model, such as:
- Scalability: Utilizing virtual space can broaden your business’s horizons. Burton Law Firm is a good case study of a successful online practice. Rather than one brick-and-mortar location, their attorneys work from virtual hubs across the country. Although the firm is based in Ohio, they have attorneys and clients in Washington, D.C., North Carolina, and Kentucky. Their ability to work from anywhere helps attract top talent and is convenient for their clients.
- Mobility: Practicing law involves a lot of work and requires hours of research, communication, presenting, and planning. Advances in technology like cloud-based services and tablets help keep all aspects of business organized in one central location and allow accessibility anywhere from an airplane to the courtroom, improving efficiency and productivity regardless of where you are.
- Affordability: Aside from the obvious benefit of avoiding the upfront investment of establishing a brick-and-mortar legal practice, an online practice reduces costs in small ways that add up, such as the ability to go paperless, reduce support staff, and eliminate utility bills.
- Flexibility: Being able to work from anywhere allows attorneys to innovate and create a better work/life balance. One of the concerns about opening an online practice involves meeting clients. Virtual workspaces have gained popularity in cities across the country. These fully furnished meeting spaces often have receptionists, conference rooms, and quiet spaces to conduct business in a professional setting, so you can work from home when it’s convenient but have a more traditional space as needed.
If you’re considering opening a virtual space, make sure you have a solid plan for streamlining client communication and securing information. An organization is key if your business is based online. Carefully research the following options to keep your virtual law practice running smoothly:
- Cloud computing: Cloud sharing services allow users to instantly store, share, and retrieve documents from any location where they can access the internet. Think of it as a mobile file cabinet with limitless space. Find a secure service that works for you and create a workflow around filing important information.
- Law practice management software: A secure client portal helps keep client communication organized and has the added benefit of instilling confidence about your professionalism. Exchanging documents, setting appointments, accepting online payments, and sending and receiving messages makes life easier for both you and your clients.
- Digital records and legal tools: Gone are the days of massive physical law libraries – case law, judgments, and other legal records are available with a few taps on a tablet. Detailed data and investigative tools enable firms to build better cases anywhere and anytime with access to a range of public, proprietary, and behavioral information.
As more businesses transition from storefront to a webpage, support for online professionals continues to grow. From shared workspaces to cloud-based software, productivity is possible from anywhere on the planet. Reach a broader audience, grow without constraints, and deliver top-notch service to your clients through technology with a virtual law practice.
Boss Certified Real-Time Reporting provides accurate, fast, and fair court reporting services for everything from trials and mediations to dispositions and conferences. For more information call us at 954-467-6867, or connect with us online today!