Technology advancements continue to be made and this has made it easier than ever for people to work from home, including lawyers. If you’re a lawyer struggling with your virtual law office or thinking about starting a virtual law office, here are some secrets that you need to know so that you can stay productive and, above all, happy.
Virtual Law Office Secret #1 – Create and Stick to a Schedule
One of the ideas behind working from home is that you get to work when you want (outside of court appearances, of course). So, it seems like a great way that lawyers can spend more time with their family or pursue other goals or hobbies. Yet, like any work from home option, creating and sticking to a schedule is key. Without doing so, you’ll find that you work more than you thought you would (or wanted to work) because things get put off for various reasons. Schedules aren’t so much about confining yourself to a desk so much as it is a boundary to help you protect the time that you need to meet the needs of your clients.
Virtual Law Office Secret #2 – Understand the Limitations of Consumer Technology
As the owner of a virtual law office, you have a lot of choices available for managing your workflow, client files, templates, and finances. It can be tempting to choose free or extremely inexpensive options to save money. Yet, many state bars have specific regulations for attorneys when it comes to technology and the security of that technology. While clouds used by traditional consumers are nice (especially since they are budget friendly), they don’t always meet the security guidelines or technology guidelines set forth by your state bar. Talk with experienced virtual lawyers in your area and ask for recommendations. Make sure that you understand what’s expected of you by the bar and research your initial choices before making a final decision.
Virtual Law Office Secret #3 – Not All Virtual Help Options Are Created Equal
Many virtual lawyers rely on freelancers, contractors, and outsourcing options to help their office be more efficient. While there are some tempting offers such as extremely cheap rates and those who say they can work any hours, it’s important that you choose the option that is best for your business. Look for a virtual solution that has experience working remotely, working in the legal industry, and understands not just the time constraints most lawyers face, but also the financial obligations lawyers have to their clients.
Virtual Law Office Secret #4 – Finding Your Potential Clients
When you start your own virtual law office, you are in charge of your own marketing efforts. Make sure that you understand your state bar’s rules related to marketing (and the use of social media) before you begin your marketing. If you choose to hire someone to help you with your marketing or your social media, make sure that they understand the bar rules.
You must make the time to go where your potential clients are so that you can get your message out there. You should also set up a website with a blog or news section. Over time, this can help increase your visibility on the web. Make sure that you update your blog regularly and use specific keywords such as one major city or town you want to target and a practice area. For instance, “Seattle car accident lawyer.”
Get involved in your area, too. Look for opportunities to volunteer your time alone or with your family. As you meet people and establish relationships, you’re able to tell at least one person who you are and what you do. Creating relationships is crucial to help you find potential clients.
Don’t neglect current or past clients, either. Follow-up with them on a regular basis and offer related services. It is much easier to sell to existing clients or former clients than it is to acquire a new client.
Virtual Law Office Secret #5 – Don’t Neglect Unpaid Accounts
Collections can be a time consuming and stressful process. It’s probably one of your least favorite activities. However, unpaid accounts are directly involved in your bottom line. It’s important that you don’t ignore them. The older an account is, the harder it is to collect on it.
If collections isn’t your cup of tea, partner with someone who is experienced in legal collections and who may be able to help your future clients get the funding that they need so that they can pay you in full at the beginning of the case.
Free Consultations to Help You Improve Your Virtual Law Office
If you have a virtual law office or if you’re considering one and want to start off on the best possible foot, contact Clients ARM to schedule your free consultation. With more than 30 years of experience in the legal field, we provide remote, U.S. based services for lawyers. Learn how our services can help you become more efficient. Contact us now.