If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that business is fluid. One organization might do something one way, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only way. This is even more apparent where the law is concerned. Important work has transitioned online. Even grand juries have been allowed to file proceedings remotely during the first few months of the coronavirus pandemic. That leads us to the important question: Should you move to a virtual law firm?
There’s one enormous benefit to working for or starting a virtual law firm: low overhead. You won’t have to purchase or rent out a huge amount of space where employees can work — because they all work from their own homes or agree to travel when it’s necessary to speak to clients face-to-face.
Virtual law firms are nothing new, but they’re becoming popularized because of the pandemic. There were only 15 virtual firms in the U.S. in 2014, but there are many more today.
One thing to keep in mind when considering this transition is that relationships with other law firms (ones with brick and mortar locations) become absolutely critical. Sooner or later, you’ll need to borrow their services. You need to find a way to work in a mutually beneficial relationship or your virtual firm will never make it off the ground.
Security is another important aspect of a virtual firm. You need to ensure that your virtual law office (or VLO) has encrypted security so associates and clients can log-in without worrying about having their information stolen by third parties. This portal will also allow both parties to share documents, email back and forth, and chat online. Documents are usually shared externally.
A VLO is also perfect when using automated software to conduct business, such as assigning new tasks to associates or coordinating firm activities.