Virtual Assistants and the Law
How a virtual assistant can benefit your law firm
Managing a busy law practice takes a lot of time and effort. From paperwork, filing and billing to office management, there are endless tasks that must get done. In a smaller firm, all of these tasks may fall to you or a single office manager. Although most law firms have in-house assistants, many are now employing virtual assistants to take on administrative and office management tasks.
What are the benefits of a legal virtual assistant and is using one the right choice for your firm?
What does a legal virtual assistant do?
Virtual assistants (VA) complete online tasks that can be done remotely from any computer. VA’s can perform many of tasks, from basic administrative work to more complex things, depending on the person’s experience and qualifications.
Basic VA tasks:
- Bill Paying
- Bank reconciliation
- Tracking accounts receivables/payables
More complex VA tasks
Answering the phone. It is possible to outsource receptionist duties, using a service that screens incoming calls seamlessly. Clients need never know the person is not physically in your office.
Email management. The number of emails flooding into your inbox every day can become overwhelming. Simply reading through them and determining which emails are urgent is extremely time-consuming. A good VA can help manage your inbox, setting up folders for various categories, from bar-related emails and listservs to potential and current clients. A VA can help prioritize emails that need an answer right away. They can also set up appointments and answer basic questions.
Filing documents. Legal documents can be scanned and saved on a shared server by a VA so everyone can access the information. The assistant can go through each document to identify the client and type, and then complete the necessary indexing.
Manage your meeting schedule. A VA can set up meetings with clients and manage your calendar. A VA can also take care of reserving a meeting room and ordering food if needed.
Social media. Social media is becoming more important as law firms try to attract new business in a very competitive field. Posting on sites like Facebook and Twitter is time-consuming, and your efforts might be ineffective if you’re not a social media expert. A good VA with experience in social media can lift the burden and help ensure success.
Transcription. If you take notes by hand, a VA can type them up and then save the copy directly on your server.
Make travel plans. Searching for flights, booking a hotel room, and renting a car all take the time you probably don’t have. A good VA can make travel arrangements for you, based on your schedule and budget. A VA can also make restaurant reservations.
Is a VA right for your law firm?
To determine if a Virtual Assistant is right for you, it is essential to weigh the cost of such services. How many hours a week do you expect the VA to work? You can also calculate the benefit by estimating how much time you spend on administrative tasks. How many more hours do you have to work to make up for the lost time? What would be the cost if you paid yourself to do those tasks?
You must also ensure that you hire a VA you can trust. Trust is essential, especially when it comes to sensitive and private client information. Plus, even though a VA works remotely, you still need to manage him or her, so you get your money’s worth. This means you must determine which tasks need to be done and then ensure they are completed in a timely manner. You must also take the time to train the VA, so he or she does things the way you want them.
A legal VA can remove the burden of administrative tasks so you can concentrate on client needs. It is important to weigh your needs and determine if and how a VA can help your law firm.
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