While law firms had so far been boasting huge and well-decorated offices spaces, with the evolution of time and practices, the soaring real estate rates, urge to serve clients better, creating a diversified and geographically widened presence and embracing a smarter work culture has led to the burgeoning demand for virtual law firms. However complex might it sound, setting up a virtual law firm isn’t as complicated if you have the right tools at hand.
According to a recent report, the legal services market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 6.5% globally and result in a $986.7 billion industry by 2023. Virtual offices have been emerging as a prominent choice today and experts opine that it will continue to be so even in the future. The new tectonic shift in how offices will look like and is going to impact how legal business is done. This will not only help medium to large law firms to transition to a presence but also help solo practitioners and small emerging law firms to make a mark in the legal industry.
What is a Virtual Law Office?
As its name goes, a virtual law office is where the practice of law is done virtually instead of at a brick-and-mortar office space. It could be that the team is located remotely and connect over technology platforms to keep the system in place or connect with clients virtually instead of meeting them in person or meet them only when necessary keeping the rest of the communication take care of via virtual channels. This enables law firms to employ lawyers from across the country and ease a lot of logistical as well as demographical expenses and issues.
If you are planning to step into the virtual law office landscape to transition your law firm or start-up on your own, give this article a read to get insights into how you could set up a state-of-the-art virtual law office like a pro.
- Study the market and chalk a business plan: Before you switch over to the virtual firm concept, assess the market requirements, gauge where you stand, and chalk out a suitable and sustainable business plan.
- Set a financial budget: Planning the finances well in advance is a no brainer and by now you must already have this in the pipeline. Plan the budget carefully so that you don’t face setbacks midway.
- Look at the virtual office set-up essentials: You must keep your virtual office equipped with all the elements necessary even though you aren’t working out of traditional office setup. You must have a work desk, printer, high-speed internet connectivity, computer/laptop, mobile/base phone, etc. set up to be able to deliver optimum output. How your virtual office would look is your discretion though.
- Set up a robust communication channel: Unlike a traditional office setup, you can’t walk up to your colleague for any imminent work or have those quick work chats to discuss a case. You have to do this over a virtual platform. So, you must ensure that you have a robust communication platform in place for a seamless experience. Not just for communicating with the team but this is necessary even to offer a high-class communication experience to your clients.
- Prepare your team for the change in work culture: Transitions may be tricky for a team that had been practicing in traditional ways. It is important that the team is made ready to embrace the transition and is trained to practice the new normal. Plan for daily catch-up e-meetings, deploy a proper yet easy to use communication and practice platform (please note while your lawyer colleagues are maestros in their practice they might not have technological expertise), define work roles and allocate work keeping their strengths and weaknesses in mind, etc.
- Ensure an exceptional client experience: Client experience is something you cannot compromise at any cost. To ensure that you render excellent client services, you must make sure the software you use is state-of-the-art and at the same time easy to use and access. You may consider consulting with your peers who have already ventured into the virtual law firm practice to understand what clients expect from such firms.
- Promote your virtual presence: Make sure you promote your virtual law firm in the digital world. Get a well-done website in place, go vocal on social media, invest in digital marketing practices, etc.
- Deploy a robust legal technology solution: This is a make-or-break move. If you fail here, your dreams of succeeding in the virtual law business game might just come to a halt. Make sure the practice management software you’re betting on is cloud-enabled and provides a holistic service in terms of all legal practice, administrative as well as financial back-up technologically. Your legal technology solution should be an asset you can blindly bank on rather than becoming an additional liability.
If you have already done the ground research, chalked out a plan and is ready to implement, and set-up or transition your law firm to a virtual one, you can trust App4Legal for all your technology requisitions. Our Practice Management software, Customer Portal, Financial Management Module, and other integrated modules are built on the cutting-edge technology at par global standards to spearhead your law business to success.