The legal industry has completely changed thanks to advances in technology. Today the most successful law firms use technology tools to automate manual and repetitive tasks and therefore work more efficiently. On top of that, as law firms look to save money, be more profitable, and client-centered, many of them choose another way to work: virtual offices!
In recent years, more and more law firms are going virtual (also due to the COVID-19 crisis and lockdown).
So how is a virtual law firm different from a traditional firm? Well, the main difference is that a traditional law firm operates from a building of bricks and mortar, while a virtual law firm doesn’t. Attorneys in a virtual law firm usually do not meet clients in person. Instead, they use cloud-based technology to communicate with clients through phone, email, or video calls.
So how can you start a virtual law firm (and why)? Let me explain!
Advantages of Starting a Virtual Law Firm
Lower monthly overhead: A virtual law firm can help you save money by skipping the overhead of leasing office space and buying office equipment. Obviously, without overhead costs, your firm will increase profit.
Ability to serve a wider client base: Since you are not in a single physical location you are able to reach clients wherever they might be.
More control over your work-life balance: With virtual law firms comes more flexibility and control over the hours you work.
Virtual lawyers work from anywhere: You can work remotely from a home office, coworking space, a coffee shop, or any other place.
Eco-friendly: Switching to a virtual law firm business model means going largely paperless.
How to Get Started as a Virtual Law Firm
Talk to Others with Experience: Before beginning a new virtual law firm it’s always a good idea to consult with others already in the business.
Determine the Scope of Practice: Rather than offering a broad range of legal services, it’s better to focus on a specific area of practice. Keep in mind, the more general you are, the harder it will be for you to compete.
Set a Budget: When setting a budget for your virtual law firm, consider tech purchases, website building and maintenance costs, law firm management software costs, phone and communication costs, license and business registration costs, and employee costs.
Choose Communication Options: How will your law firm attorneys communicate with clients? Well, most virtual lawyers use a variety of communication options, such as email, phone, webchat, and video chat.
Build a Website: As virtual law firms are entirely internet-based, it’s crucially important to have a solid and user-friendly website. You can upload relevant and useful content to your website, show certificates of your qualifications, provide references from large companies, and testimonials from smaller clients. The potential clients who visit your website will determine whether your virtual law firm is the right fit for them.
Set Pricing Structures: When considering pricing structures, remember that pricing should remain both competitive and focused on financial growth.
Choose the Right Tech Tools: Well, this one is obvious. It’s impossible to have a virtual law firm without the help of cloud-based technology tools.
To have a successful virtual law firm, consider the following types of tech tools:
- 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
Although there are many great technologies out there, always choose the tools that fit your practice the best. Finally, don’t forget to prepare your team for how to use these tools.
Over the past several years, technology has had a significant impact on the legal industry. The traditional models of law practice are no longer aligned with the ever-changing needs of the market.
So obviously, law firms are becoming more digital than ever. With the global pandemic forcing lawyers to work from home, virtual law firms are on the rise now.
Law firm owners can see great success with the virtual law firm business model. They can limit their expenses, limit their risks, and maximize the law firm’s growth.