There is no doubt that the internet has given rise to countless new and innovative opportunities. For example, many businesses realize that they’re able to change the way they offer their services. Attorneys are no different. In fact, having a virtual law firm can be a smart decision for your practice, clients and your personal life.
When it comes to business, one of the things we learned from the pandemic is that law firms can work remotely and lean on digital tools to serve their clients. Although this may have been a response to the situation, the reality is that being a virtual lawyer has advantages both for your clients and practice.
If you’re still wondering if this is a good option for you, here are 8 reasons and benefits of having a virtual legal practice.
1. Reach more clients
Although it may seem a confusing and intimidating term, a virtual law firm is a legal practice where lawyers use internet-based and telecommunications tools to operate and offer their services. This doesn’t change the services you offer, but rather the way you deliver your services.
Of course, you can still have your physical office if you want to. But because you’re using technology to deliver your services virtually, you’re no longer constrained to serve clients within a specific location’s radius.
So, this will help you reach more clients that may not be near your office’s location. Take immigration lawyers as an example. If they didn’t have systems in place to run their firm virtually, they would only be able to work with clients that live in the same area that they do.
But by having a virtual law firm, they’re able to reach clients all over the world. One could imagine that the number of cases for immigration lawyers would decrease if they only tried to find leads in their local market.
As you can imagine, expanding your reach depends on your law firm’s objectives and areas of practice. If this is something you want to pursue, speak to your law firm SEO provider.
2. Time and location flexibility
Another benefit of having a virtual law firm is that this model allows you to work remotely from wherever you are, while it also gives you more time and flexibility. Since you’re serving clients over the net rather than at a physical office, you may not need to go to the office all the time.
Unless you live a stone’s throw from your office, this can save you from commuting every day. It can also improve your work productivity since you’re not interrupted by the usual distractions that come with an office. This same benefit applies to your clients, too!
You see where I’m going with this, don’t you? If you’re able to get things done quicker, your clients will be happier and you’ll have more time for yourself. If the end goal of your law firm is to work entirely remotely, having a virtual law firm is the answer.
3. Reduce your costs
One of the most important advantages of having a virtual law firm is that lawyers can reduce their costs (which can help improve your ROI). By going virtual, you might only need to invest in:
- A website for your law firm
- Cloud software and computing services
- Software and tools to run your practice (i.e. call service, payment processor, etc).
If you run a virtual legal practice, you don’t need to pay a premium for rent because you don’t need to be in a good and competitive location. In fact, if you decide to rent a virtual office, your utilities and commute expenses will also decrease.
Reducing your costs with a virtual law firm is not only good for your finances but also gives you the chance to start growing your presence in other locations. Let’s take a typical example that law firms, including some of our clients, use as their business model.
A law firm’s main office is in city A, which means that their whole team works there 90% of the time. However, they also wanted to get cases in city B, but they’re not looking to move their operations to that place.
Because the client already has a virtual office in town B, we can start working on their local SEO and build their presence for that location. For them, it’s a good ROI because they’re not pouring a lot of money into that office beyond having the local presence of that storefront.
4. It’s convenient for your clients
So far, we’ve talked about how your law firm benefits from serving clients virtually, but what about your clients? As mentioned before, one of the main characteristics of virtual law firms is that the majority of the communication and services are delivered over the net.
This means that clients can go online and comfortably schedule a Zoom, Skype or GoToMeeting call with you or someone in your firm when it’s more suitable for them (and you).
There are never enough hours in the day. So, giving your current and potential clients the chance to schedule an online meeting is very convenient since it saves them the time of traveling to your office.
Now, you may still have clients that want to have a face-to-face meeting and that’s okay. But just giving people the chance to use the communication channel that is more convenient for them can make you look more accessible.
There are plenty of ways that clients can benefit from a virtual law firm. For example, if you need your client to send you documents, they can upload them to your cloud storage. The results? Everyone involved saves time and money.
5. It makes your law firm more innovative
As you can see, being a virtual lawyer allows you to offer the same legal services that a regular, brick and mortar law firm does while it creates a lot of new opportunities for your practice:
- Offer high-quality video calls.
- Accept payments online.
- Move from on-premise to cloud software.
- Book consultations and appointments online.
- Ability to work from anywhere.
Attorneys that go virtual are leaning towards new and innovative products that can make their work and their client’s experience more efficient and enjoyable. But, since this is a new business model for law firms, it can also come with some challenges.
As a lawyer, you likely have a good idea of how a brick-and-mortar law firm works and the processes you need to run your practice. This is because there’s a well-established business model that you can follow.
We’re still in the early days of virtual law firms. As a result, the blueprints for this business model are still under development. Is this bad? Not at all! It’s a good opportunity for law firms to innovate and build systems that allow them to fulfill their services more easily and efficiently.
It may take some time to figure out what your virtual law office needs, but you have something innovative, unique, and convenient to offer to your clients when you do.
6. It’s attractive for your employees
Most employees want a job that gives them enough time for themselves. For that reason, virtual jobs have been evolving and developing over the years, and the pandemic has accelerated this trend.
If you think about it, there are plenty reasons why a remote job may be attractive for your employees:
- Saving time and money on commuting
- Having more flexibility over their schedule
- Increasing productivity
- Having the flexibility to use more casual dress attire
Some studies have shown that working remotely doesn’t hurt your employee’s productivity, and in fact, it may increase since they can focus on their activities without being interrupted. In addition to reducing your costs, a virtual law firm also allows you to attract talent from a bigger pool of candidates.
This segways into my next point.
7. Ability to find and attract more talent
As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, a physical office can have some location constraints. These limitations also apply to the pool of people that you’re able to hire. Think about it. With a physical office, you cannot consider candidates who are too far away to commute to your office.
However, virtual law offices have the flexibility to look at a broader pool of candidates since location is no longer a significant constraint. Now, you can focus on finding the best people for the job rather than making sure to find someone that can get to your office.
Of course, there may be some positions that require you to hire someone locally. But if needed, you can look for candidates in other cities and states.
8. Online businesses are growing
A 2015 study showed that only 3.7% of people use the phonebook or Yellowpages to find a lawyer. You can imagine how small that number has shrunk since then. The truth is that people are relying more and more on the internet to find their service providers, including attorneys.
So, it’s not a surprise that many law firms are starting to implement and offer some virtual features to their clients. Although many of these features were a response to the pandemic, they proved to be cost-effective and time convenient for clients.
The way law firms operate is changing. And even though you may not want to go virtual, there are some things that you can add to your law firm to make your clients’ experience more enjoyable.
My goal with this article was that you found at the very least one or two compelling reasons for having a virtual law firm. There are many benefits of using this business model that can help you grow your practice while reducing your costs.