According to U.S. News & World Report, lawyering is among the most stressful professions. Attorneys often experience stress due to long hours and substantial professional responsibilities.
That’s not to say being an attorney must involve unreasonable levels of stress. One of the most effective ways to guard against stress in this profession is to delegate tasks whenever possible.
If you’re a solo practitioner or part of a small firm, don’t worry if you’re not sure you can afford a staff yet. Hiring a virtual legal assistant is another option. A virtual legal assistant can offer many of the same benefits as a staff at a fraction of the cost.
What Is a Virtual Legal Assistant?
A virtual assistant is someone who offers the same services traditional in-office assistants for law firms would offer. The difference is that a virtual assistant is a remote worker.
A virtual legal assistant isn’t a virtual paralegal. They may not handle tasks requiring significant familiarity with the law.
What a virtual legal assistant can do is handle a range of administrative tasks. Examples include:
- Social media management
- Data entry
- Appointment setting
- Basic bookkeeping and accounting
- General document management
- Responding to client inquiries
- Calendar management
- Some basic legal research
Hiring an assistant who works remotely as needed is more cost-effective than hiring full-time or even part-time employees. A virtual legal assistant may enter into a flexible contract, offering only the services you need when you need them.
Benefits of Virtual Legal Assistant Help
When attorneys and firms hire a virtual legal assistant to offload tasks to, they benefit from:
Improved Case Management
A virtual legal assistant can help you organize electronic case files and the documents within them. Doing so allows for improved case management. When you can manage cases more easily because an assistant is helping you stay organized, you may feel less stress overall.
Making the Right Impression on Clients
Improved case management helps firms serve their clients more effectively, productively, and reliably. Hiring a virtual legal assistant can thus help you improve your reputation among clients.
You might have to invest in numerous tools and software when growing a law firm. Examples include:
- Case management software
- Accounting and bookkeeping tools
- Social media management software
- Scheduling tools
Some virtual assistants serving the legal industry may already use such tools when serving other clients. Thus, your firm won’t have to purchase them. This highlights another way a virtual legal assistant can save your firm money.
Not all aspects of running a firm align with an attorney’s area of expertise. Consider the example of social media management. Maintaining an active presence on social media helps with everything from lead generation to sustained brand engagement.
However, social media marketing might not be a topic you’re skilled in. You may also have limited time now to brush up on the topic.
Hiring the right virtual assistant may be a way to address such skill and knowledge gaps. Perhaps your virtual legal assistant has significant experience managing social media campaigns for past clients. If so, they may have ideas to improve your campaigns.
Or, maybe your assistant has bookkeeping expertise. Their understanding of issues like cash flow could help your firm boost earnings and reduce losses.
A virtual assistant almost certainly doesn’t know the legal industry as well as you, but they may have other valuable knowledge. Leveraging said knowledge could provide your firm with a unique competitive advantage.
Focus and concentration are vital when you’re working on complex cases. Clients need to feel they’re getting your full attention. In addition, the law is nuanced and complex. Lack of focus can result in errors or oversights that may jeopardize a case’s outcome.
Achieving this degree of focus proves challenging when you’re trying to keep track of multiple cases in your head. When a virtual legal assistant organizes your cases for you, the decreased mental clutter can make it easier to concentrate your attention on the task at hand.
Always Being Available
A virtual assistant can be available to respond to lead and client inquiries when you’re not available. You could even hire a virtual legal assistant from another time zone to handle these tasks when you’re off the clock. Or, you could hire multiple virtual assistants, ensuring someone is always available to handle client needs promptly. You’ll attract more new clients and better serve your current clients if someone is available to respond to them at almost any time.
Achieving Work-Life Balance
Many in the law profession struggle to make personal time for family and other pursuits. Consider these findings from a recent Bloomberg survey of attorneys:
- Approximately 20 percent of firm lawyers report billing more than 80 hours during busy weeks
- Most lawyers who report billing more than 80 hours during busy weeks actually work upwards of 100 hours
- An average lawyer works 53 hours a week
- Senior lawyers may work 50 percent more hours than the hours they bill
- Lawyers commonly report struggling with sleep and anxiety issues
Don’t assume lack of work-life balance is a reality of your job you must accept. Depriving yourself of personal time can result in burnout. You’ll be unable to serve your clients properly if your mental health suffers.
Identifying ways to eliminate time-consuming work from your schedule is vital. A virtual legal assistant can help in this capacity. They may handle the administrative tasks you would otherwise handle yourself.
The amount of time you save as a result could have a tremendous impact on your quality of life. This improvement may translate to an improvement in the quality of services you offer clients.
The Value of Finding a Virtual Legal Assistant Through an Agency
Hiring law firm virtual assistants may benefit your firm in numerous ways. That said, you might not feel you have the time for the virtual assistant hiring process right now. Finding qualified legal virtual assistants can prove challenging when you have other responsibilities to attend to.
PEAK Outsourcing simplifies this process. We can help you obtain virtual legal assistant services, connecting you with qualified talent based on your specific needs. Learn more about how our team can help by contacting us online or calling us at 1-866-796-0335 to discuss your project today.
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