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Virtual Operations by Law Firms

The global pandemic has forced a change in how businesses operate. Law firms have also been forced to adapt and change how they offer their services to their clients. Law firms have shifted their daily operations from the physical office to online platforms. They have done so in compliance with the health regulations geared towards curbing the spread of the coronavirus. The firms send work to their employees remotely, who then submit and give back reports through digital platforms like web conferences. However, they do not have to be operating online completely. Having a physical office where crucial cases can be discussed is also important.

Here some of the benefits of virtual law firms;

Eliminate Location Barrier- Firms can source legal clients from any part of the country through online operations. In online platforms, these law firms can search a wider geographical area and advertise their services, which will reach people across various states.

Improves Productivity- Working remotely from home provides flexibility. It also ensures employees work on tasks with minimal pressure, thus producing the best results.

Environmental conservation- Online operations emit little to no waste compared to the physical office.

Reduce Costs and Maximize Profits- Firms can save money by working virtually in terms of rent and other operational costs in the physical law firm.

Working virtually also has its own downfalls, which include;

Security- Virtual operations leave law firms prone to hackers who may have access to sensitive client information, and this may lead to catastrophic results.

Jurisdiction Barriers- Firms have to be careful about state laws from the state they operate from in order to know whether they can spread their wings of operations in different jurisdictions.

Productivity Issues- Some employees may take advantage of the minimal supervision. Thus, law firms should put measures in place to evaluate performance.

Shifting to virtual operations for firms that were previously operating on physical premises is a delicate process that requires careful planning. They should come up with strategies that will safely transition the whole company into virtual operations. Technology is ever advancing by the day. There are numerous software applications, specifically for legal firms, that these firms need to incorporate. Those that had already shifted to online platforms before the pandemic has found it easier because their firms have already adapted to this trend. To operate virtually, they have to ensure that client information is safe and secure. Partnering with an experienced technology firm to help secure this transition is a wise idea. Also, shifting to virtual operations will reduce the social life of an employee, as Robert Elwood, partner at Practus virtual law firm, notes. It is important for these firms to ensure they hold meetings to unite members and build a culture of interaction, and checking up on one another. This may create a positive working environment and enhance cooperation within the virtual law firms.

Firms have different approaches to virtual operations. Some plan to maintain virtual operations, while some plan to return to their physical areas of operations. This, however, is driven by how their clients require. Some clients may want virtual operations, while others may be fixated on the importance of physical visits to their attorneys. Tracey Ingle, Ingle Law firm, believes that law firms should trust their team members to provide accurate and timely results. It is a team effort and not the management’s responsibility. In virtual operations, law firms have to consistently communicate with their clients through phones or electronic mails to help assure them they are still operational and effective in offering services from the online platform. Being that the idea of virtual operations is new to this industry, law firms have to tread carefully and consider their client requirements before anything else. Prioritizing clients through ensuring their cases are secure and inaccessible to third parties. Dennis Abrams, a Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyer, says that he has invested heavily in cybersecurity: “Protecting my clients’ and my law firm’s information is my number one priority nowadays.”

Will Virtual Operations Last?

When law firms incorporate top-notch technology in their online operations, the virtual operations will be highly successful. Virtual law firm operations have again and again been termed as the future of law firms. It may also be a way to improve the services they offer to clients by offering tailored services according to individual cases. Also, with the rising technology, research has become easier, and lawyers can access most information online. Firms will be able to provide quality services to their clients and attract new clients as they retain their previous clients. Leaders of law firms should be in constant communication with their employees to instill virtues such as customer service and ensure things run accordingly. It is also important to hold evaluations regularly to know the direction which their companies are taking through operating virtually. Sourcing the right team and the right software is crucial in ensuring law firms survive and continue operating efficiently through online platforms for those that will still want to continue when the pandemic is over.

 

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