November 11, 2011
Elizabeth Fairbanks-Fletcher of Saratoga Springs, New York understands the value of technology and is using it to her advantage. After six years of practicing in a rented space, she is taking her solo practice home to run a Virtual Law Office.
By doing so, she is able to achieve her goal of providing affordable legal assistance to those who fall into what she describes as the “gray area – clients who cannot afford an attorney, but do not qualify for pro bono legal assistance.” The new virtual law office reduces overhead costs and puts her clients first. As she describes it, “I had a whole life before I became an attorney. I can feel when someone comes in and says, ‘I need help, but I do not have money to pay an attorney $375 an hour.’”
HOW IT WORKS
Elizabeth uses a phone, email, and Internet as she did before, but created a new website, www.myettorney.com, to assist current and new clients completely from a virtual environment.
- Complicated legal advice is discussed by web cam or video conferencing
- Clients sign documents and send them back using Right Signature
- Questionnaires and related files are filled out and submitted online
- Client portal sites allow the client and attorney to view and update files
- Self-service resources are available online, such as court coaching and attorney-prepared legal documents (e.g. wills, deeds, etc)
- A Virtual Paralegal provides about 20 hours of service each month
WHY GO VIRTUAL?
- Maintain reasonable rates for legal assistance
- Eliminate commercial rental costs, which often increase each year
- Have more flexibility to balance family life
- Save time commuting
- Clients can manage legal issues without leaving home or office
Elizabeth’s clients agree that going virtual is a good decision. When she notified her clients of the Virtual Law Office, she was pleasantly greeted with an inbox of “way to go!” comments. She says, “I can better serve my clients and reach my goals without the insanity, cost and overhead.”
Check out Elizabeth’s website for more details.
Leave a comment: What do you think about Virtual Law Offices as an alternate way to practice?