Virtual law practice. It is the latest buzzword that has been taking the legal sector into a frenzy.
Although legal practice technology has been around for some years now, the demand peaked since the start of the pandemic, forcing most organizations to work from home. Plus, the first-paced digital transformation experienced in the past decade has led to clients expecting more efficient legal services, forcing firms to acquire technologies that support the trend.
Has your firm jumped ship and adopted this off-premise working arrangement yet? If not, you are missing out on tons of life-changing benefits tipped to enhance your attorney-client relationship and streamline legal functions. However, we must admit that virtual law offices do not work for all attorneys as they may pose a few challenges.
This blog takes a deeper dive at the top five key benefits of a virtual law office, but first, let outline some of the challenges of walking down that path.
Challenges of a Virtual Law Office
Below are a few roadblocks you may encounter while undertaking your legal activities remotely:
IT Infrastructure Issues
For work processes to carry on uninterrupted, the firm’s IT infrastructure must be monitored and updated constantly. Issues like downtime, network failures, or server crashes often cause work discontinuity, hence loss of billable hours and revenue. The good news is that you can contract a reliable managed services provider to manage and monitor your IT systems 24/7, ensuring business continuity and security.
Lack of Adequate Collaboration
Unlike an on-premise setup where teams can lock heads and exchange thoughts on various issues, collaborating remotely can be challenging. Despite the availability of virtual collaboration technologies like Slack, Zoom, and Teams, the lack of in-person connection makes it difficult to refer clients to someone since firm members may not know each other’s practice areas quite well.
Working at home as an attorney creates a blurred line between work and personal life, which may take a toll on productivity. There are endless disruptions like noisy neighborhoods, pet distractions, visitors, etc.
Document Retention and Access
Accessing legal documents anytime, anywhere can help attorneys win cases and clients without much struggle. However, it becomes a bit trickier to retain and access critical documents remotely, considering the IT infrastructure and cybersecurity challenges.
Thankfully, the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) solves the challenge by letting you store and access electronic documents and signatures through wireless means. You can leverage cloud-based platforms like Google Drive and Dropbox to arrange your case file and access them hassle-free remotely.
Top Five Benefits of a Virtual Law Office
Having discovered the drawbacks of a virtual law office (most of which are preventable), let us now switch focus to the top five benefits of working off-premise as a lawyer.
Optimal Time Management and Tracking
One of the most straightforward ways to increase productivity and profitability in your law firm is to enhance time tracking to capture the billable hours more accurately. More so, in a remote setup where there is minimal attorney-client physical interaction, you want to capture every hour spent working on a case and record it electronically to prevent any trust issues.
Using a time tracking tool like LawBillity makes the process much easier and accurate, as you can record every billable second on-the-go. In addition, there are customizable options, allowing you to track time on any device and from anywhere. Going virtual means bidding bye to your manual spreadsheets or paper timesheets and upgrading to digital timekeeping to record billable hours online, back to the cloud, and auto-save across multiple devices.
Working virtually eliminates tons of costs and expenses usually incurred on-premise. Firms can save on overhead costs by getting rid of rent or mortgage payments for office spaces, outsourcing services like IT and security management, bundling technology services, etc.
Whereas some costs of working from home remain, they’re much lower than those of running a fully furnished office. Subcontracting freelance legal experts is also a common trend that has proven to be much more cost-efficient than having full-house staff on permanent employment arrangements.
Ability to Serve a Wider Client Base
Adopting virtual law practice means you are not tied down to a single office, and your online presence exposes you to a broader client base. Unlike a physical office where there is a limit to the number of clients who can visit in a day, the virtual setup allows clients to submit their requests 24/7, without visiting your offices personally.
Furthermore, the use of technology increases the speed and efficiency in which teams complete such functions as case management, calendaring, documents retrieval, invoicing, and time tracking. This increases clients’ confidence, knowing that their issues will be handled speedily and more effectively.
Attracting and Retaining the Best Talents
Going virtual eliminates the geographic barriers and enhances flexibility since teams can work anytime, anywhere. How does this come in handy in attracting and retaining the best talents, though?
It is common knowledge; human resources are an organization’s most valuable asset. And working in a flexible environment is influential to improving diversity, innovativeness, and self-motivation. In essence, firms that have embraced virtual setups enhance their chances of attracting younger, enthusiastic lawyers who have most likely grown up using technological devices. As such, the best talents would prefer to work at firms with progressive technologies and remote access flexibility.
Increased Revenue Flow
With enhanced billable hours tracking, reduced overheads, and increased client base, we see no reason why your firm’s revenue flow can’t increase after switching to a virtual law office. What’s more, you can count on LawBillity’s time and billing software to help you track all expenses, invoice your clients within a few clicks, and get paid faster. This reduces your administrative time by up to 30% hence fewer expenses.
Final Remarks: Is Virtual Transition the Way to Go?
You bet! While migrating to a virtual space comes with its fair share of challenges, the benefits of making such a move overshadows any hindrance. Think about the maximal expense reduction, increased client base, enhanced productivity, attraction and retention of better talents, increased revenue flow, etc. is that an opportunity you are willing to let pass?
If you’re curious to discover how an advanced tool like LawBillity can propel your virtual law firm to greater success by enhancing functions like expense tracking, invoicing, reporting, and time tracking, start your FREE 14-day trial today!