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Virtual Firm 101

Before opening my virtual firm, I did a lot of research on some of the best tools and systems to make operating a law firm from anywhere, easier. I believe we should always share the tools that work best for us so here are my tips for operating a fully virtual law practice. 

  • Get a cloud platform. You do not need to have a server in 2022. There are multiple resources available to keep all your client files, forms, and documents in the cloud. Find one that works for you. I personally like the Microsoft suite but Google has a great drive as well. By managing your files in the cloud, you and those you give permission, can access them from anywhere. 
  • Have a backup. We have all heard the horror stories with systems crashing and documents being lost. It is wildly important to have a backup storage system. Many legal software systems allow for unlimited storage. Practice Panther and Clio are good choices for backup document storage, as well as many other things.
  • Use electronic signatures when possible. Even in the court system, electronic signatures are becoming more common. The rules are changing to authorize not only lawyer, but clients and non-parties, to sign documents through AdobeSign or Docusign and other electronic signature platforms. They can also be used for engagement letters and other communications. Determine which tool works best for your office and then learn to use it. 
  • Disguise your cell phone. Almost all internet phone providers have an app for your cell phone that will allow you to call from the app so the receiver doesn’t get access to your private phone line. Nextiva, RingCentral, and Dialpad are a few of the services that give you the ability to disguise your number, set office phone hours, and a voicemail for your phone. 
  • Find a good meeting place. Even if you work mostly from your home, you will need a place to meet clients on occasion. It doesn’t have to be a full-service office but you need a place where you can confidentially discuss your legal matters. Coworking spaces are usually great for this purpose and allow you to reserve rooms in advance. Some other bigger law firms also have meeting space that they will rent to you, a smaller virtual firm, for a fee. Networking and openly discussing your status as a virtual firm will open a lot of doors to tools you didn’t ever know were available. 
  • Get help. I cannot overstate the importance of asking for help when you’re establishing your own virtual business. That’s a business coach, a CPA, a financial advisor, content creators, web designers, etc. It is absolutely impossible to do everything on your own and you’re better served with other ideas/input anyway. Ask some of your mentors or role models who they talked to when they started or what really served them well in the beginning and go from there. 

Remember, opening a business is a marathon, not a sprint. There will be virtual tools that do not work for you. It’s okay to try different systems and determine what works best for you. You will never learn what you need until you just do it. If you want to talk more about opening your own virtual law firm, send me an email. I’d be happy to share my experience.