The technology is not new, but the move to the virtual world is. Remote, virtual law offices have been around for some time, but during this COVID Crisis many lawyers have been working remotely and that trend may be the way forward for those who are looking for more work-life balance.
The Pros and Cons of Practicing Virtual Law
As it stands now, many law firms are staggering their workforce to limit in-house staff to half to a third for safe social distancing during the pandemic. A virtual firm doesn’t have to be completely online, some only go into the office for in person client meetings or when face to face interaction is necessary to get deals done.
No one scenario works best for attorneys nor law firms, here are the pros and cons worth considering.
PROs of a Virtual Law Office
- Lower monthly overhead by eliminating or moving to a smaller office space resulting increased profits.
- Flexibility with the hours you work to reduce stress and have more control over your time including eliminating commuting.
- Better work/life balance improving productivity, health and well-being.
- Eliminate geographic barriers to penetrate new markets while attracting a larger talent pool of attorneys.
- Eco-friendly and possibly paper-free by bundling technology services and outsourcing services such as payment processing, marketing, and legal research.
- Collaborate more freely with clients as well as deepen the connections with attorneys, paralegals, and other staff.
“Many Attorneys I speak with are hesitant to go to a true virtual law firm. While many of the CONs maybe be a concern, however there are several virtual law firms that have overcome these challenges.” – Shari Davidson, President, On Balance Search Consultants.
CONs of a Virtual Law Office
- Working remotely may negatively impact traditional office-life and personal life, as the line between the two become blurred. Many find remote work ideal. The only real Con is you.
- There is no substitute for face-to-face interaction. Many virtual law firms plan retreats to meet face to face as it is the best way to develop relationships nationally and internationally. That said, collaboration can be achieved in the virtual space.
- Join a virtual law firm that has the software platforms in place to mitigate the risk of compromising client’s privacy and data security.
- Find a virtual law firm that invests in tech that foments collaboration with your legal team.
- Join a firm that has software programs that improve client communications by eliminating unnecessary emails while at the same time improving productivity.
- State regulations vary regarding attorneys being able to practice law in other jurisdictions. Find a virtual law firm that has resources in states where it can service your clients. This way you can collaborate with other attorneys that are licensed in other states and still service your clients. You want to stay in control of all the legal matters, that way the firm and client view you as a trusted advisor and asset to the firm.
- Virtual firms tend to have a strong retention rate due to the flexibility of being to work remotely.
Virtual law offices are luring talented attorneys, mostly working mothers, from big firms offering work-life balance and flexibility to work in the evenings and on weekends. Younger attorneys may want the flexibility that remote work affords.
Senior partners may opt for a virtual firm giving them a way to monetize their book of business, while still being able to bring in new business working remotely part time.
“Don’t just close your doors and leave all that money out there. Create a steady stream of retirement income from your book of business. Make sure you get paid at the end of the rainbow.” -- Shari Davidson.
There are top-rated virtual law firms that do everything remotely, including estate planning, business law, and real estate. It’s all done online, from virtual video depositions and many other important services.
Remote work will continue to evolve, and it isn’t going away any time soon. Virtual law firms can help you create the life you want to live.
Deciding whether a virtual law office is right for you depends on if it aligns with your strategy, goals, and what you’re trying to accomplish. By working with a legal consultant, you can align your goals to the right firm.
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