Virtual Law Firm
Basics and Benefits
Virtual Law Firm
Expanded Jurisdictions
Expanded Jurisdictions
Expanded Practice Areas
Expanded Practice Areas
Lower Overhead
• Real Estate
• IT
• Staffing
• Incidentals
Expanded Network
Just In Time Methods
Just In Time Methods
Just In Time Methods
Just In Time Methods
Just In Time Methods
Just In Time Methods
Chad Burton
Virtual Law Firm
Basics and Benefits
Virtual law firm basics and benefits
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Virtual law firm basics and benefits


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As new technology is introduced, client expectations change and the legal profession evolves. Virtual law firm tools can help lawyers adapt to these changes, and enable small law firms to grow quickly and compete effectively against larger law firms.

In this 30 minute presentation sponsored by Clio, gain an understanding of what constitutes a virtual law firm, and the benefits and challenges of starting one.

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  • A virtual law firm is a law firm, run by a lawyer or group of lawyers, that meets the legal needs of its clients securely over the Internet and through other technological tools.It doesn’t exist in place, but instead exists in the connections and communications between lawyers and clients.[TRIGGER]The use of technological tools means that virtual law firms break the chains of law firm life.Lawyers in virtual law firms can practice from anywhere that they have access to the tools that make up the firm.[TRIGGER]This means some virtual lawyers may still work in an office environment.[TRIGGER]Others can work from home.[TRIGGERS]While others may choose open environments like coffee shops and co-working locations.This is especially advantageous to lawyers who want to balance their personal and professional life.For example, virtual law firm Heritage Law out of British Columbia was founded with a workplace culture that allows its lawyers to work flexible hours to let them spend time with their families, using technology to keep them productive outside of the office.The flexibility of virtual law firms can create a huge pool of talent eager to work, that have been shut out of traditional firm structures
  • Law firms have traditionally been state-based entities.Governed by both court rules and business formation law, law firms are shaped by these forces where ever they form.In the past, adding a new jurisdiction meant sending lawyers from your firm to the state, qualifying for practice, obtaining property and opening an office.Virtual law firms can divorce themselves from these steps. Instead, they can add a lawyer already licensed in that state or just obtain reciprocity.In fact, In most states, you no longer need a physical address in that state from which to practice.For example, in Feb. of this year, New Jersey changed Rule 1:21-1 of the Rules Governing the Courts Of the State Of New Jersey. Easing the bona fide office rule, lawyers practicing in NJ now merely need to insure proper communication channels with the Court and designate an agent to receive service.You’ve lawyers that no longer have an office. They can practice from home, the beach, another state.[TRIGGER]It literally opens the map to where you can practice and whom you can add to your own virtual law firm.
  • Clients have always expressed a desire for a full-service lawyer.Yet when it comes to solo and small firms, the glass always seems half-empty.Clients find a law firm they like and trust, clients want their law firm to handle all their legal work – and then they that the law firm can’tLawyers and firms specialize in particular practice areas. Offering mastery built over years of experience.A client comes to you with a matter outside of your core expertise, and professional ethics compels you to send that client back out the door.[TRIGGER]
  • Virtual law firms provide the opportunity to meet that client’s needs and keep them in your firm, by adding members to your virtual law firm that complement your practice areas.The communication tools and techniques of virtual law firms keep clients in a network that can handle their every need without any one lawyer having to know everything and do everything for that one client.
  • The average square footage per lawyer for a law office designed for 25 lawyers is typically 800 to 850 square feet.  For an office designed for 100 lawyers it is about 650 to 700 square feet.NY Rent is $53.72/square foot. NY law firm rent ranges from $35K to $45K per lawyer per month.KC rent is $16 / square foot.KC law firm rent is $11K to $13KIn 2008, the average office space per person was about 250 square feet. Now, the average is 150 square That would make rent only Only $8,058 in Manhattan & $2400 in KC.The question you should be asking yourself is why are you paying rent to begin with? Is it meeting rooms and place to store your books? Later we’ll look at some alternatives that can get you the same features for less.But it is not just real estate that drive up the cost of lawyers.Large firms spend $8-17K on IT per attorney.2012 International legal technology assoc. (ILTA) Technology Purchasing SurveyUsing virtual law firm technology would allow firms to utilize existing consumer technology like the smartphones, laptops, and tablets we already own, rather than having to invest in larger scale technology implementations. It also gives the members of virtual law firms the benefit of using their preferred technology, Mac or PC.Technology can even reduce staffing costsParalegals median pay was $46,680 per year.Legal secretaries median pay was $42,460But you can use technology to hire virtual assistants that can cover your needs at a fraction of the costs.90% of large law firms passed on the costs of incidentals to their clients. Eliminate those costs and you create better service for your clients.
  • An average, up to 80% of a lawyer’s work can come from referrals.But for solo and small firms, you can quickly exhaust the network your friends, family, and clients provide.Virtual law firms let your build a professional network that expands with each new member in your firm.[TRIGGER][TRIGGER][TRIGGER]And as we’ve seen with social media, network growth is geometric in scale. The more you add, the faster it grows.
  • The last benefit of virtual law firms is their flexibility in timing.In the late 70s and early 80s, car manufacturers began implementing a “Just in Time” inventory process.The Just in Time system looks at when an item is needed in the manufacturing process and times its entry into the process.Manufacturers saved money by not paying for parts they did not immediately need and then having to pay to store those unnecessary parts.In the 90’s, electronics manufacturers began implementing this process as well.
  • The practice of law is late to catch on to business practices that have existed for decades.But technology is finally allowing virtual law firms to use Just in Time hiring to compete effectively against larger law firms.Traditional law firms do their hiring on a yearly basis, gambling that a fresh batch of law school graduates will provide exactly the skills and expertise they need for years to come.
  • Virtual Law Firms can quickly and easily add a new member to meet a gap in their offerings.Virtual law firms with the right tools can even bring in the right attorneys when a matter requires it [TRIGGER]and then readjust at the end of the case.[TRIGGER]
  • This allows them the ability cover a new jurisdiction.
  • Or a practice area.
  • Or to expand networks and market opportunities.
  • Chad is the founding attorney of Burton Law.  Prior to doing so, he worked at a large law firm focusing on business litigation.  Chad continues to represent businesses and individuals in litigation.  He also serves as outside general counsel to small and mid-sized businesses, including new and existing franchises.Chad is admitted to practice law in state and federal courts, including the State of Ohio, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, the District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, and the District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.
  • Virtual law firm basics and benefits

    1. 1. Virtual Law Firm Basics and Benefits #ClioWeb
    2. 2. Virtual Law Firm
    4. 4. Expanded Jurisdictions
    5. 5. Expanded Jurisdictions
    6. 6. Expanded Practice Areas
    7. 7. Expanded Practice Areas
    8. 8. Lower Overhead • Real Estate • IT • Staffing • Incidentals
    9. 9. Expanded Network
    10. 10. Just In Time Methods
    11. 11. Just In Time Methods
    12. 12. Just In Time Methods
    13. 13. Just In Time Methods
    14. 14. Just In Time Methods
    15. 15. Just In Time Methods
    17. 17. Chad Burton
    18. 18. Virtual Law Firm Basics and Benefits #ClioWeb
    19. 19. QUESTIONS?
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