Today, many lawyers are shunning more traditional career paths and are instead opting to set up their own entirely virtual practice. The attraction of working from the comfort of your own pajamas has won over attorneys looking for something different from the traditional hours spent slogging away at the office.
If you are interested in following in their footsteps, here are helpful techniques to help you acquire, work, and then win a case operating on an entirely virtual basis.
Part 1: Winning Clients
One huge disadvantage for solo attorneys or those with micro-firms, is striking a balance between incoming leads and existing client workloads. If you don’t chase leads, you’ll never win any business, but if you flag behind on client work, they’ll leave you. So what’s the answer? In a word: automation.
The sales funnel is best represented by these phases:
- New leads
- Contacted leads
- Qualified leads
- Meeting scheduled
- Assessed and retained
The key when working on your own is to look at what stages can be automated by either technology or virtual teams. Capturing, screening and scheduling meetings are the prime candidates for this treatment because speed is critical and risk at these stages is low. This way you can rifle through your client roster’s workload, interrupting it only for meetings with clients capable of making a serious impact on your business.
Part 2: Use Client Intake Process to Generate Documents
Of course, virtualization isn’t confined to the sales process. Casework, document collection, and status updates can all be achieved using software or virtual solutions. Use the client intake process to generate every form or template-based document pertaining to the case. Hours and hours of work have just been shaved down to a matter of minutes, and the client shouldn’t mind as they would have had to go through the intake process anyway.
You can then use all data generated from the client to fill out the rest of the paperwork. From the initial complaint to discovery, you can set up all documentation once at the beginning and refer back to it thereafter.
Part 3: Add Help As and When You Need It
Obviously, with a virtual practice, you don’t have the overheads associated with a staff payroll or a physical office location. However, you’re unlikely to be able to fight on all fronts all of the time. You will need outside help, particularly if you begin to scale. Thankfully, technology can help here too.
Thanks to the rise of the gig economy, every position from receptionist to paralegal is available on an hourly basis to pick up and put down whenever you please. The most successful virtual practitioners are also not afraid to pick the brains of the increasing pool of freelance lawyers. Often, these lawyers will know more than you do as experienced professionals themselves. Freelancers are great for providing their knowledge within their specialist areas for a one-time fee.
By avoiding static operating costs when work is slow, you can use your flexibility and agility as a competitive advantage to pass on the savings to your clients, both retaining and winning more business in the process.