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  • Richard
  • By 2010 Gen Y will outnumber Baby Boomers….96% of them have joined a social network. (Born 1990) -- Gen X- Born 1970. Social Media has overtaken porn as the #1 activity on the Web 1 out of 8 couples married in the U.S. last year met via social media Years to Reach 50 millions Users:  Radio (38 Years), TV (13 Years), Internet (4 Years), iPod (3 Years)…Facebook added 100 million users in less than 9 months…iPhone applications hit 1 billion in 9 months. If Facebook were a country it would be the world’s 4th largest between the United States and Indonesia (note that Facebook is now creeping up – recently announced 300 million users)
  • Richard
  • Richard Actually my Dc virtual law firm. Example of a client portal
  • What to look for in a SaaS Provider – What is a Saas Provider- Software as a Service Understand the hosting company’s policies & how they may impact your law practice. Data return and retention policies Backups Are there export features and/or offline versions of the software (if you need these)? Server locations and geo-redundancy Response time/customer service Confidentiality/access to law office data Conduct a Needs and ROI Analysis.

The Virtual Law Firm: Benefits, Costs, and Ethical Pitfalls ... The Virtual Law Firm: Benefits, Costs, and Ethical Pitfalls ... Presentation Transcript

  • The Virtual Law Firm: Benefits, Costs, and Ethical Pitfalls to Avoid
    • William S. Boyd School of Law University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • Defining the Virtual Law Firm
  • What is a Virtual Law Firm?
    • A “virtual law firm” or “virtual law office” is characterized by access by the firm’s clients to a password protected and secure web space where both the attorney and client may interact and legal services are consumed by the client.
    • More specifically it can be defined as having a secure client portal that is accessible from the law firm’s web site.
  • What is eLawyering?
    • elawyering can be defined as:
    • “ [E- Lawyering is] all the ways in which lawyers can do their work using the Web and associated technologies. These include new ways to communicate and collaborate with clients, prospective clients and other lawyers, produce documents, settle disputes and manage legal knowledge. Think of a lawyering verb—interview, investigate, counsel, draft, advocate, analyze, negotiate, manage and so forth—and there are corresponding electronic tools and techniques.”
    • eLawyering or virtual lawyering requires that a client be able to log in to a secure web space with a user name and password where they can access the firm’s legal services.
  • The “Client Portal”
  • What a “virtual law firm” is not!
    • A law firm without a physical office, sometimes called a “virtual law firm.”
    • A law firm that uses web-based back-office practice management tools and applications is not a “virtual law firm.”
      • Many attorneys are now also taking a portion of their practices online by using SaaS to handle some, but not all, practice management functions.
      • Other attorneys are adding a virtual law firm portal to their existing traditional law practice to work with in-person clients online as well as add new online clients.
    • By our definition, virtual lawyering and elawyering are one and the same and they always involve the actual delivery of legal services over the Web.
  • Legal Services Over the Internet
    • A “virtual law firm” enables clients to:
      • Assemble legal documents over the web;
      • Purchase legal advice online by telephone or email;
      • Store their legal documents online;
      • Collaborate with their attorneys online through threaded discussions which are archived.
      • Access legal information, web advisors, and intelligent calculators.
  • Latent Market for Legal Services
    • 50% of middle income households in the US have at least one legal problem per year
    • Only 20% seek legal assistance from attorneys.
    • 26% do nothing at all.
    • Increasing percentage of consumers seek alternatives to lawyers such as self-help. E.g., Nolo and LegalZoom
    • Potentially huge market waiting to be tapped in the US for personal consumer legal services.
  • Target Client Market: The Under-Served US Market. According to varying estimates by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, American consumers spend approximately $90 billion annually on personal legal services. Our estimate for the latent legal services market adds another $45 billion to the potential market. The United States represents, by far, the largest market for legal services in the world, amounting to $220 billion in 2008, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Size of the market for legal services What consumers spend now $90 billion Estimated value of under-served consumers or “latent” market $45 billion Total market $135 billion
  • New Market Opportunities
    • Internet-based markets and opportunities: The “latent” market for legal services.
    • Younger clients can be served by a different Internet-based offering.
    • Alternative to LegalZoom and Nolo - just a legal form.
    • No office consultation. Telephone/email. Meeting to execute documents.
  • Recent Study
    • 56% of consumers would prefer to deal with a law firm on-line.
    • 47% of consumers surveyed said they would choose a law firm based on whether they had an online legal services component.
    • Sample based on 2, 500 interviews in the UK
  • Benefits of a Virtual Law Firm
    • Capture new clients who are part of the “latent market for legal services” who don’t use lawyers;
    • Deliver “limited legal services” on-line.
    • Capture web-savvy clients who are members of the “connected generation” who expect to relate to their lawyers “on-line.”
  • More Benefits
    • Security and regular data backups of law office data
    • Time saving
      • No in-house software installation
      • Access to data anywhere the attorney may securely access the Internet
      • Regular software updates and new features added without disturbing the workflow (and typically at no extra cost)
      • Streamline & automate functions of your practice for greater efficiency
    • Economic
      • Lower overhead costs
      • Less expensive than paying for software, storage, and server hardware and having to run it internally with or without hiring an IT professional for the office
      • Expand client base across jurisdiction
      • Clients appreciate the convenience, efficiency and feeling “in control” over the status of their legal matters
    • Eco-friendly
    • Better work/life balance
  • On-Line Legal Service Applications
    • Web-enabled document automation
    • Web Advisors – e.g. Chapter 13 Calculator.
    • Legal Advice Online
    • Legal Document Review
    • Court Coaching for Pro Se Clients
    • Ability to provide pro bono services online
    • Collaboration and Communication
    • Searchable and linkable legal library for clients
  • Unbundled Legal Services
    • Legal Services ala Carte
    Only pay for the legal services you need when you need it. New model for delivering legal services.
  • DOCUMENT AUTOMATION
  •  Complete? Next question Next question Next question Documents that Assemble Themselves Ready for Lawyer Review Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Last Will & Testament Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. You don't just ‘fill out’ an automated document – you create it. The answers you enter create a custom legal document, built from a library of state-specific and relevant legal text, that is tailored to client’s specific facts.         Start Finish
  • Example of a Client Portal
  • Practice Management Applications
    • Jurisdiction check to avoid UPL
    • Conflicts of Interest Checking
    • Online Engagement of Atty/Client Relationship
    • Case Calendar & Events
    • Document Archiving
    • Law & Research Libraries
    • Billing and Invoices Management
    • On-Line Bill Payment by Credit Card – IOLTA and Trust Accounting Compliance
    • Contact Management – Clients and Referral Databases
  • Ethical Issues
    • The ethical issues are the same whether you are practicing law online or offline.
  • Ethical Issues
    • UPL in other Jurisdictions
      • Advertising Rules
      • Issues unique to multi-jurisdictional virtual law firms
    • Establishing the Online Attorney/Client Relationship
      • Clickwrap Agreements and other methods
    • Defining the Scope of Representation
      • Unbundling Legal Services/Limited Legal Services
      • Providing Competent Limited Representation
    • Conflict of interest checks
    • Verifying the Client’s Identity Online
    • Confidentiality of Client Data
    • Accepting online payments
      • Trust accounting and IOLTA compliance
  • SaaS Provider Selection
    • What to look for in a SaaS Provider
      • Understand the hosting company’s policies & how they may impact your law practice.
        • Data return and retention policies
      • Backups
        • Are there export features and/or offline versions of the software (if you need these)?
      • Server locations and geo-redundancy
      • Response time/customer service
      • Confidentiality/access to law office data
    • Conduct a Needs and ROI Analysis.
  • Costs of a Virtual Law Office
    • Front End Web Site- Hosting and Design
    • Client Portal
      • Vendor pricing ranges from $49.00 to $299.00 a month depending on complexity.
      • Web-Based Practice Management Solutions.
      • Approximately $49.00 per attorney per month.
  • • Differentiation • Remarkable • Client experience BUILDING A STRONG BRAND ONLINE
  • OF BRANDING YOUR PRACTICE ONLINE BENEFITS
    • • Stand out
    • • Satisfy current clients
        • Acquire new clients
        • Save time & money
  • POWER OF WINNING LAW FIRMS WILL HAVE A STRONG BRAND & USE THE ONLINE TECHNOLOGY
  • Don’t be a Turkey!