What are virtual paralegals?
A virtual paralegal, like most paralegals, works under the supervision of an attorney but from a remote location, utilizing modern technology to provide paralegal services and support.
How is a virtual paralegal different from a paralegal working remotely?
Some paralegals work from a remote location but are employees; whereas, virtual paralegals in this article are independent contractors who provide their paralegal services to one or more attorney clients.
How do virtual paralegals benefit their attorney clients?
Virtual paralegals can benefit law firms and legal departments by supplying extra help on a freelance or contract basis, providing project-based support or long-term support. Some virtual paralegals are specialized in a certain area of the law, like IP or litigation, while others are generalists. Many have advanced skills in connection with the technology used in the modern practice of law.
What are the 2 main benefits of a virtual paralegal?
The two main benefits are time and money.
Ideally, an attorney should not be performing day-to-day administrative tasks, drafting legal documents, or filing documents. An attorney’s time is better spent focusing on building their practice, retaining and landing clients, and billable hours.
Not only can a virtual paralegal handle client matters such as preparing legal documents and responding to clients so that lawyers have time to work on more strategic projects; the virtual paralegal’s hours are billable, thus firm clients can pay the entire cost of a virtual paralegal.
Beyond the money-saving benefits of only paying your virtual paralegal for the hours worked, there are no overhead costs such as taxes, paid vacation, and health insurance. Having a virtual paralegal as part of your team means having the flexibility to manage surge, overflow, and having extra help during times of high need.
How to create a successful working relationship with a virtual paralegal?
Clear communication is vital.
- What will the channels of communication (text, Microsoft Teams, email, phone calls) be?
- How will tasks be assigned and deadlines communicated? As the virtual paralegal is an independent contractor who may have more than one attorney client, make sure to plan ahead to ensure availability.
- How will information and documents be securely and confidentially exchanged and shared? Will you have your virtual paralegal utilize a remote desktop or secure file transfer software?
Have a clear understanding of your needs.
- Do you need a virtual paralegal who will draft documents a few hours a week, project manage a large legal project, or be available for regularly scheduled meetings?
- Do you need a specialist in immigration or a generalist who can handle diverse areas of your practice?
Discuss business basics
- Do you need your virtual paralegal to log their billable hours in your time management system? How do you want your virtual paralegal to invoice by project or just by hours?
- What equipment do you need your virtual paralegal to have (beyond the basics of a computer, reliable internet connection, and phone)?
Why is a virtual paralegal an attorney’s secret weapon?
Your virtual paralegal is a business owner who understands the value of your time and the importance of your client relationships. Your virtual paralegal is your business partner and is committed to your and your clients’ success.
Schedule a discovery call to discuss your situation and paralegal needs.