Running a solo law firm is no easy feat. Without adequate support, every administrative and client-related task ultimately falls into the attorney’s lap. Unfortunately, the cost of employing staff members can be prohibitive for many solos. Instead, they try their hardest to handle every duty on their own. But this recipe for disaster can leave a solo overwhelmed and exhausted. It can also result in a law practice that is inefficient, unproductive, and losing out on valuable profits.
Fortunately, there is an affordable solution that provides solo attorneys with the support they need to keep their practices efficient and productive.
Virtual legal assistants work remotely to provide law firms with administrative and legal work assistance. Working remotely and on an as-needed basis, these professionals help solo lawyers stay on top of their many duties for a fraction of what it would cost to hire a full-time employee.
The Cost Savings
As countless solo attorneys have previously learned, hiring even one full-time staff member can be extremely expensive. From the payment of wages to insurance and tax considerations, the process and cost can quickly become too much to handle.
Solo firm leaders may also find themselves with more help than needed at certain times of the year. Legal practices tend to have ebbs and flows. One month may be extremely busy while the next is slow. A full-time legal assistant must be paid whether there is work to be done or not, and this type of employment arrangement does not benefit every type of solo firm.
Utilizing virtual assistants allows solos to pay only for their practice’s specific needs. For example, maybe you have a good answering service in place, but you need some help with legal billing. You can contract a virtual legal assistant to solely handle that task. Strategically choosing the parameters of a virtual assistant’s responsibilities can significantly reduce the amount of money spent on unnecessary services and employment costs.
Aside from the cost-savings of using a virtual legal assistant, these professionals also help solo law firms increase their productivity, and here are four reasons why:
- Customization – When hiring a full-time employee, the general expectation is that the individual will handle a variety of different tasks and duties. With a virtual assistant, attorneys can clearly define and customize which services the assistant will provide. This gives solo firms the extra help they need – when and where they need it.
- Quality Support Services – The rise of virtual working arrangements has created a space for highly qualified legal professionals to offer their services on a contract basis instead of tying themselves to one firm. To attract law firm clients, they position themselves with top-notch skills and knowledge to offer quality services, which benefits firms.
In addition, virtual legal assistants often have experience using the latest legal technologies. This can be a huge value, providing solo firms with the latest and greatest technologies without the burden of training staff members.
- Valuable Client Experiences – A virtual legal assistant can help firms deliver on the promises made to clients, whether they are answering calls or completing legal research. The support provided by virtual assistants adds to a positive client experience by helping solo attorneys stay one step ahead in the provision of legal services.
- Improved Efficiency – Firm tasks and procedures can be handled much more efficiently with the help of a virtual legal assistant. Those nonbillable but highly necessary duties that need to be addressed… solo attorneys can delegate those responsibilities to the assistant and focus on more profitable tasks. With the right assistant and established procedures in place, solo firms can enjoy a more efficient and profitable practice.
Virtual Legal Assistant Skills
When choosing to work with a virtual legal assistant, solo attorneys often question which firm duties can be passed along. Some of the general skills offered by virtual legal assistants include:
- Legal research and writing – Many virtual legal assistants have the skill and knowledge to handle the time-consuming and labor-intensive process of legal research and writing.
- Direct Practice Area Skills – Some virtual legal assistants have an abundance of experience working in specific legal practice areas. For example, an assistant may have worked in contract drafting and management for years. These professionals, under appropriate supervision, may help solos with tasks that are specifically related to a particular area of the practice.
- Legal Billing– A lot of solo attorneys hate the legal billing duties that come along with running a law firm. With a virtual legal assistant and standard legal billing software like TimeSolv, these lawyers can confidently delegate their legal billing and collection tasks for greater productivity.
- Paralegal Skills – Some virtual legal assistants have been trained and educated as paralegals, which opens up a plethora of additional tasks that they can handle for a solo firm. From drafting pleadings to collecting evidence for trial, virtual paralegals services can manage critical duties efficiently and affordably.
- Administrative Tasks – Virtual assistants can help solo law firms with a variety of administrative tasks, including:
- Answering phones
- Setting up/confirming appointments
- Sending out appointment reminders
- Email inbox management
- Website setup and maintenance
- Social media management
Virtual Legal Assistants benefit Solo Law Firms
Solo attorneys can save themselves some time and save their firms some money by securing the help of a virtual legal assistant. They alleviate the need to handle non-core activities, pay expensive employee benefits, and expand costly infrastructure. With a virtual legal assistant, solos can focus on the core legal tasks of the law firm to increase profitability and productivity.
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