The need for remote or off-site work arrangements and the emergence of more "virtual" organizational models for law firms has been at the center of ongoing change in the legal sector. The World Economic Forum named flexible employment, including virtual teams, "one of the greatest drivers of transformation."
Driven by the desire to work from anywhere to be closer to consumers, to minimize overheads and maintain talent, companies are finding significant advantages in embracing remote work and in many cases, starting with a fully virtual model. The secret to the success of remote and virtual models is what degree of process continuity and accountability is implemented across all of the work being performed.
You Can Build Your Law Practice With Low Overhead
Real estate, citizens, facilities, technology and service costs are all minimized in more virtual settings. Digital law firms do not require dedicated physical facilities for all their lawyers to operate. As a result, the cost of real estate and office fit-outs is significantly reduced. Although some of the costs associated with running home, satellite offices, or renting co-working spaces exist, they are usually much lower than the cost of running full-service law firms. Digital companies often usually have far less fixed staffing and overhead costs by using a mix of outsourced facilities, cloud-based communications, networks and infrastructure to reduce the need for them.
It used to be that if you decided to start your own law practice, you would have to rent office space, set up utilities, buy desks and other office furniture, and employ administrative staff just for starters. This can all come at huge cost, particularly if you're in a major metropolitan area, which is hard to do when you've been waiting for your first customers to walk in the door for weeks and months.
In reality, the risk and cost of all this put law firms out of business before they could build up their clientele and deter anyone from ever attempting to do so on their own. But when you start a virtual office, the costs to get started are much much smaller, and you can concentrate your resources on bringing clients and doing outstanding work on their behalf to bring more clients, while building up your law practice with little overhead.
Attracting and Retaining Talent
Most law firms claim that their employees are their most important resource. How can virtual ways of working help the organization attract and retain talent? Whether you're a smaller organization thinking about succession planning or a rising company that wants to develop its team, attracting and retaining talent is key. According to an international survey of lawyers, more than 90 per cent of respondents say that flexible work is essential to improving diversity and 52 per cent work in an organisation where flexible work is in operation. This versatility is made possible by remote or virtual working practices. Firms that have incorporated virtual ways of working are often more appealing to younger lawyers (the lifeblood of the future of every firm) and workers who have grown up online and using mobile devices. They expect to be able to access work and information systems online, via mobile devices or via any Wi-Fi-enabled device. The best talent will choose to work for progressive firms, with up-to-date technology and with the efficiency of having remote access.
Let the Technology Do the Legwork
There is no question that ever-improving legal technology has benefited virtual firms, distributed/multi-location firms and virtual ways of working. These companies do not operate without the internet and technology that enables online access to clients and their files. Here are some examples of what virtual firms use that any law firm can adopt:
- Virtual firms locate the majority of their new clients through their websites or other online environments. In order to collect their data and feed information directly into the client set-up and on-boarding processes, the right legal technology will link these online searches to the prospective webforms.
- For certain forms of work, the "reach of the Internet makes it possible for them to find customers who would otherwise never know about the business.
- Automated or ad hoc contact to keep clients and other parties up-to-date via email, client portals, text, blogs, social or other media.
- Practice and case management, which is run as "Software as a Service" (Saas), releases lawyers from the worst aspects of IT help at the same time as giving them access to both their client and company details from wherever they are. Moving away from paper and landlines, computers, faxes, and mail can all mostly be translated into online or digital formats, with the added benefit that "office" is wherever the fee-earner operates at that particular time. These digital correspondence files can all be stored in a similar matter or client file—so everything is available in one location.
Are You Ready to Find Your New Virtual Office?
We have just what you are looking for! Victory Workspace serves professionals in the Walnut Creek, California area. At Victory Workspace, we offer a variety of Virtual Office packages designed to give you all the benefits of a traditional office at a fraction of the cost. What does it mean to have a virtual office? What would it look like to have one? How would it change your business and your day-to-day work life? We are the leaders in virtual workspaces in Walnut Creek because we have an innovative and comprehensive approach to non-traditional workspaces. To learn more, set up your free tour or inquire about which one of services might be right for you, reach out to one of our amazing Community Guides at Victory Workspace for more information.