Globalization is changing how businesses run. That’s a fact that no industry can deny, and its reach now includes law firms. Whether you’re a law firm looking to expand past the confines of your office, offer the perk of remote working to your employees, or if you’re a solo lawyer interested in building a firm but not in the joys of real estate and equipment purchasing, a virtual or semi-virtual law firm may be the right choice.
A virtual law firm has all the capabilities of a traditional law firm, with three considerable benefits:
- Partners and employees can work from anywhere they are most comfortable – which not only helps with retention but also expands the pool of job applicants you can consider, especially for support positions.
- Immense savings on rent, maintenance, equipment and amenities, such as coffee, printer paper, office furniture and custodial services, even for semi-virtual firms.
- The ability to hire contract help when you need it, keeping your team lean and agile.
So, what do you need to get started with your virtual firm?
Invest In A Great Website
If you’re going without an actual office, it’s important that the places that your clients do see you – namely, your website – are beautiful. This is not the time to try to make your own website, unless you really know what you’re doing.
Hire a web developer and designer to create a modern, aesthetically pleasing, and easy to read website, with a clear list of the services you offer. Make sure that your content is search engine optimized (SEO) so that potential clients searching for help within your practice area find you.
Once your website is set up, create a blog, and add to it regularly – this will help search engines recognize your site, and will help you rank higher in results. Again, while this may be a challenge you’re considering undertaking yourself, strongly consider hiring a SEO copywriter to create articles for you. They will be more successful in drawing traffic to your website, and will save you the time, effort and frustration of having even more work put on your plate.
Pick The Right Cloud-Based Services
As a virtual practice, you and your team will be operating from the cloud. This means that it’s absolutely critical that you find cloud-based services that are not only user friendly, but also incredibly secure – you’re still responsible for the confidentiality of your documents, even if they aren’t physically stored.
Additionally, make sure that you pick cloud software with round-the-clock support – you don’t want to be personally troubleshooting issues when they arise.
Find Supporting Staff That Are Comfortable Online
While you may not be able to pick and choose your partners based on their digital savvy – after all, it’s still more important that they’re great lawyers – it is wise to pick supporting staff that are comfortable working virtually and on cloud networks. An easy way to jump start this is by searching for new team members through contract websites, as they’re much more likely to be fully comfortable online.
If you’re transitioning existing staff to virtual, make sure that you conduct thorough training – no matter how repetitive it may seem. The biggest threat to businesses security is, and has always been (and likely always will be), careless team members. Start forming a culture of digital diligence today – that means frequent reminders of the importance of logging out of cloud services when done, even at home; regularly changing passwords; scrutinizing incoming emails and attachments from unknown senders before opening, and a no-fear attitude towards asking IT if they aren’t sure about something.
Register An Official Address And Phone Number
These may seem like counterintuitive steps, but it’s important that, as a business, you have these two items. Set up call forwarding to your administrator, and provide the software they need to be able to connect calls to your various partners and team members when needed. There should be no negative impact on customers who still want to work with you over the phone, and no confusion over where to mail documents when needed.
Secure A Location To Meet Clients
Again, this may seem counterintuitive, but no one wants to meet their lawyer in a coffee shop or either of their homes. Make sure that every partner has a secure place to meet their clients when needed – coworking spaces can be a great resource in this area.
Focus On Networking And Marketing
The one downfall of having a virtual office is, you guessed it, no one is walking by your office, filing its existence away in their mind to be called up the moment they need it. It’s up to you and your team to make up the difference, but with diligent marketing, you can do so easily – and more. Invest in a dedicated marketing officer or team (depending on the size of your firm) or hire an agency to ensure that every person who could need your services knows where to find them.
Have questions? Need supporting staff to help? Contact us today to get started!