Building a virtual law firm isn’t the easiest thing to do. In many ways, it can be more challenging than creating a brick and mortar practice. Having a virtual office, however, even if you already work with a physical location, allows you to respond more quickly to the needs of your clients and the changes in the world around us.
One of the biggest advantages lawyers have when it comes to setting up a virtual law firm is that there are numerous tools available to help simplify the process. Here, we’ll break down what you’ll need to start your virtual practice.
What Is a Virtual Law Firm?
A virtual law firm is any legal practice that operates digitally rather than in a standard brick and mortar law office.
You and your employees or partners may work from home, or you might operate out of smaller satellite office spaces. While you may meet your clients occasionally in a rented office space, there’s also a chance that you never meet them in person at all. You do most, if not all, of your work online.
Why Go Virtual?
One of the biggest advantages is that you have significantly less overhead. After all, you’re eliminating the need to buy or rent an office space. You also won’t need to worry about purchasing and maintaining larger office appliances such as printers, fax machines, and onsite servers.
Another significant advantage of having a virtual practice is that you enjoy greater flexibility. You can work from anywhere at any time, which can also be of great benefit to your clients — who may not be able to meet during regular working hours.
With a virtual law firm, you can adapt more easily to the needs of your clients and continue to provide service no matter what’s happening in the world.
Tools to Build Your Virtual Practice
Let’s get into how to start a virtual law firm.
Nowadays, whether you’re starting from scratch or transitioning from a physical office space, you have countless tools at your fingertips.
Client Intake and Case Management Software
You can’t work without clients. Lead intake software enables you to respond more quickly, helping you to secure more clients. Adding case management software streamlines the process from intake to resolution, giving you complete control every step of the way.
Live Chat Software
Many times, potential clients find themselves in need of a lawyer outside of regular business hours. Having live chat tools like Ngage Live Chat enables you to respond right away. You can turn a lead into a client no matter what time of day it is; Ngage sends the chat to you immediately so you can continue the conversation.
Using a live chat service with human operators helps establish a personal touch. And may make it easier for leads to provide the personal details necessary to determine if your law firm is a good fit.
Online Client Portal
A secure online portal lets your clients communicate with you, access and upload essential documents, get status updates, make payments, and more, all without compromising privacy or data protection.
While you might not be holding face-to-face meetings, video conferencing software such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams allows you to “meet” each other. Seeing one another is critical for building trust and strong relationships.
VoIP Phone Service
A VoIP phone service lets you keep information like your personal call number private. It also makes it appear as though all your calls are coming from an office phone line, which helps you maintain a more professional look.
Document Drafting Software
Drafting software like Business Docx simplifies document creation. It automates the process of drafting high-quality legal documents and minimizes spelling and grammatical errors. SharePoint from Microsoft also helps teams share and manage content, knowledge, and applications for seamless collaboration across your practice.
Digital Signature Software
Even though you’re working digitally, your clients will still need to sign documents. Rather than having people print, sign, and scan documents at home, you can use e-signature solutions like DocuSign or AssureSign to simplify the process for both you and your clients.
Internal Communication Software
If you’re working with other legal staff members, you need a way to communicate with one another. Internal communication chat apps like Microsoft Teams allow you to send quick messages and keep up with one another.
Analytics and ROI Management Software
For your virtual law firm to succeed, you need to know how you’re doing. Business analytics and ROI management software such as tools from Captorra paint you a clear picture of what’s going on so that you can track your growth and make smart, informed business decisions.
Are You Ready to Go Virtual?
Whether you already have a brick and mortar law office or not, a virtual firm provides you with the ability to respond to the needs of your clients and adapt to changing times. While it can be a challenge starting a virtual law firm, the right tools can make it much easier.