I recently came across a forum post from a paralegal asking if the “virtual paralegal train” had run its course. The resounding response by that forum’s readers indicated that virtual paralegals are here to stay!
I believe virtual paralegals are here to stay for a number of reasons:
- The practice of law is undergoing somewhat the same transition that many churches have undergone. You are still taking care of all the important things, but just in a different manner which is more suitable to today’s lifestyles and economic times.
- Legal professionals who practice virtually are conscientious of security and confidentiality issues. When I first considered starting my own business, I spoke with Andrea Cannavina, a pioneer in the area of outsourcing administrative support for law firms. Andrea has made her Legal Typist business stick because online security is an absolute priority.
- Virtual paralegals and administrative assistants are beginning to form virtual teams, referral networks and other supportive relationships with legal vendors who provide a quality product. For example, Andrea recently interviewed Jack Newton, President and co-founder of Clio, a leading online practice management tool for attorneys. You can read about or listen to the interview concerning security at Legal Typist.
- Just as attorneys are “unbundling” legal service packages, they are also unbundling how those services are provided. Being confined to the traditional law office with a full-time or shared paralegal or legal secretary is no longer mandatory, but an option. Qualified virtual paralegals and other support staff who work on a contract basis are readily available.
- Paralegal Associates and Kristina Duncan recently conducted an informal Attorney Survey: Using Virtual Paralegals which indicated that the primary obstacle to using a virtual paralegal was simply the attorneys did not understand how to incorporate such support into their practice environment.
Every day Fox News and other news media tell us that current economic times of the United States are not going to change quickly. What do you say, attorneys — let’s keep legal outsourcing in the United States! We promise to do a better job at answering your questions and helping you locate the right tools for the virtual relationship you have in mind!