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March 2010 - Virtual Paralegal Newsletter Magazine Vol  #3
 

March 2010 - Virtual Paralegal Newsletter Magazine Vol #3

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Newsletter for Virtual Paralegals

Newsletter for Virtual Paralegals

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    March 2010 - Virtual Paralegal Newsletter Magazine Vol  #3 March 2010 - Virtual Paralegal Newsletter Magazine Vol #3 Document Transcript

    • Virtual Paralegal Newsletter Magazine™ This Issue: Volume 3, Date 3/1/10 • Virtual Paralegal Interview • Virtual Paralegal Discussion • Virtual Paralegal Forum • Virtual Paralegal Blog • Virtual Paralegal Directory • Classifieds Join Virtual Paralegal Newsletter Magazine™ Virtual Paralegal Directory Listing FREE!!! When you subscribe to our free Newsletter No purchase necessary Offer ends April 1, 2010 Cynthia A. Nash, President Keep It Simple Paralegal Services, Inc. Practice areas: Primarily Immigration Law Years in business: 16 years of Paralegal experience 12+ years of “virtual” experience 1. Why did you start your virtual paralegal business? I started Keep It Simple (KIS) Paralegal Services, Inc. because I wanted to expand my horizons by working with different attorneys, and I wanted more freedom to specialize and to establish a niche for myself. The Virtual Paralegal Training Center Virtual Paralegal Newsletter Magazine™ http://virtualparalegaltrainingcenter.com inbox@cdcvop.com
    • I initially went “virtual” because I was married to an active-duty military veteran, whose duty-station changes tended to disrupt my career pursuit and limit my earning ability. Since I had to go wherever the government sent him, I was always starting over in parallel positions rather than moving forward. While working for a sole-practitioner in Hawaii in a seemingly go-nowhere position, it once again came time to move to a new duty station and my boss was visibly stressed- out over the prospect of having to hire a replacement. I immediately proposed that we continue working together in a virtual capacity. At that time high technology had only just begun to explode into what it is today, so the idea was met with some skepticism. However, because such a situation would solve my problems, I eagerly devised a plan and carefully presented the idea and how it could, and would, work. That was in 1998; I continue to provide services to that same attorney today. 2. How long did it take for you to get your first client? Obviously when I went “virtual” my first client was my existing boss. In starting up your own business, I think it very wise to first utilize such existing connections as must as possible, e.g., past employers, co-workers, etc. Past employers who were happy with your performance are the most likely to give you a shot in a virtual setting simply because they know you and your work. It is a great starting platform and you will build through networking, recommendations, advertising, etc. 3. How did you transition from your “office” paralegal job to your virtual paralegal business? I had the luxury of making the transition gradually and developing strategies along the way. Regardless of how the transition takes place, I recommend a gradual approach to ensure seamless services can be provided. I believe the following are prerequisites to getting started in the virtual setting: Prior In-House Paralegal Experience; A plan as to the type of work you will offer and how much you will charge; The Virtual Paralegal Training Center Virtual Paralegal Newsletter Magazine™ http://virtualparalegaltrainingcenter.com inbox@cdcvop.com
    • The ability to expertly manipulate a PC and to utilize the Internet and its vast resources; A seamless plan to transfer documents to and from you and your clients and a method of receiving payment for your services; An advertising and networking plan; A love for your computer. You will be spending a lot of time together! 4. How much do you charge for your services? (Just give us a range) This is a touchy but important subject. It’s difficult to put a value on our time and our work product, especially when first getting started. This is exactly why I place emphasis on getting methodologies in place before getting started so that you don’t end up coming across as a start-up operation charging veteran prices. After you have your methods in place, figure out what you need to make, get all of your ducks in a row, and charge accordingly. The best attorneys charge accordingly, as should the best paralegals. 5. What type of software do you use for your practice areas? I find that software needs change with technology advancement and according to the services being provided. Of course, I use Microsoft Office software applications, e.g., Word, Excel, Outlook, Publisher, PowerPoint, and Adobe Acrobat (not just Adobe Reader) has become a necessity. If you don’t have the resources to purchase all of these programs from the start and you find yourself with a job that requires software you have not yet acquired, chances are you can download a free trial. 6. What are the challenges or obstacles you have faced while starting and operating your virtual paralegal business? I found that putting all aspects of the business and services to be offered in place so that I could serve clients seamlessly was a much more involved process than I had originally anticipated. As technology changes so do the processes utilized, so it’s an ongoing challenge. The Virtual Paralegal Training Center Virtual Paralegal Newsletter Magazine™ http://virtualparalegaltrainingcenter.com inbox@cdcvop.com
    • 7. What do you miss most about your “office” paralegal position that you do not have as a virtual paralegal? I most often miss the basic day-to-day, face-to-face interaction. Virtual networking does not replace human contact, so get out in the real world whenever you can to avoid what I call virtual burn-out! 8. What advice would you give to new virtual paralegals? Decide what you want to offer, do the research, formulate a business plan, get assertive and go for it. 9. What do you think is currently lacking from the virtual paralegal industry? I think there is a general lack of recognition, and therefore trust, regarding the professional nature of the work produced by paralegals. However, I also believe there has been much progress recently and that we are quickly becoming recognized as the true professionals that we are. The future is a bright! 10. How can the virtual paralegal training center help you grow your business? The VPTC is a valuable resource for continuing education and for networking with others to discover ways to improve my skills and the operation of my virtual paralegal business. 11. Please feel free to add your bio if you would like to have it as a part of this interview I earned an Associate’s Degree in Public Services/Legal Assistant from Trident Technical College in Charleston, South Carolina in 1993. I originally chose the legal field because of a long-time interest in the law. With an interest in writing as well, after attempting to write children’s books, I discovered that I had more of a knack for persuasive writing. The legal industry has allowed me to combine those interests to make my career a rewarding one. My work also takes me all over the world even if I don’t leave my computer chair. The Virtual Paralegal Training Center Virtual Paralegal Newsletter Magazine™ http://virtualparalegaltrainingcenter.com inbox@cdcvop.com
    • Sincerely, Cynthia (Cindy) Nash Virtual Paralegal Discussion What surprised you most about working as a virtual paralegal? I started my virtual paralegal business to have more flexibility and spend time with my family but I quickly found that in the beginning of starting my business I was putting in more hours than I did at my “day” job. After my business was established, I learned how to manage my time and create a flexible work schedule. Tell us what surprised you. Click Here Virtual Paralegal Forum – VPTC offers the first virtual paralegal forum where virtual paralegals can network and learn more about the virtual paralegal business. The virtual paralegal forum is FREE to join. Click here to register Suggested Questions/Topics • Introduce yourself. • Questions pertaining to the virtual paralegal business. • Questions about VPTC training courses. • Post your company’s press release. • Post an announcement about your company and/or your services. • Useful tips for your fellow virtual paralegals. • Introduce your virtual paralegal Ezine or newsletter. • Post your virtual paralegal event. • Let us work together to make The Virtual Paralegal Forum a place where virtual paralegals can network, and get information about starting and growing your business. This is your chance to advertise your business and services for FREE! Network with Other Virtual Paralegals Virtual Paralegal Training – The Virtual Paralegal Training Center ("VPTC") mission is to provide training to virtual paralegals with starting and operating their virtual paralegal business. VPTC provides step by step guidance to virtual The Virtual Paralegal Training Center Virtual Paralegal Newsletter Magazine™ http://virtualparalegaltrainingcenter.com inbox@cdcvop.com
    • paralegals and continuing education for growing their businesses. Click here for a list of membership benefits from The Virtual Paralegal Training Center. Virtual Paralegal Blog- VPTC discusses topics that are of interests to virtual paralegals with starting and growing their business. Topics include but are not limited to confidentiality, software, fees, marketing, conflicts of interests, and paralegal ethics among other things. Click here to register Virtual Paralegal Directory -VPTC offers an online directory where virtual paralegals can advertise their services. They are currently running a promotion for FREE directory listing for 6 months. Offer ends April 1, 2010. Click here to join. Join us on Facebook. Click here to become a VPTC Facebook Fan. Follow VPTC on Twitter - VirtPara Virtual Paralegal Courses - Click here to view the Virtual Paralegal Training Center Curriculum The Virtual Paralegal Training Center Virtual Paralegal Newsletter Magazine™ http://virtualparalegaltrainingcenter.com inbox@cdcvop.com
    • Classifieds Join The Virtual Paralegal Training Center http://www.virtualparalegaltrainingcenter.com inbox@cdcvop.com Virtual Paralegal Directory Listing FREE!!! When you subscribe to our free Newsletter No purchase necessary Offer ends April 1, 2010 Click here for a list of membership benefits from The Virtual Paralegal Training Center. The Virtual Paralegal Training Center Virtual Paralegal Newsletter Magazine™ http://virtualparalegaltrainingcenter.com inbox@cdcvop.com