Ever since the Covid-19 epidemic, “the new normal” as we so often called it, work from home or remote working became the common norm. as such many multi-national companies were forced to shift towards online platforms. Key business proposals, employee meetings, client dealings all took place online.
Technology innovation as such is believed to grow in the upcoming years, even after the Covid crisis cease to exist. Many youngsters have already kick started their legal careers as “influencers” and spread important legal news or legal information through platforms like Instagram and LinkedIn.
Naturally, with virtual law practice brings forth many obvious advantages. The flexibility and time management. If you know the essentials and the nitty gritty surrounding virtual legal practices, it can surely be best paying jobs for professionals working from home.
Many court proceedings have also started taking place online and the same is also accessible for public viewing. Isn’t it better to not have to be chained to your cubicle 24/7? It is only reasonable that many legal professionals are taking to remote working. You work at your convenience and get paid good money compared to any other litigator / lawyer who are doing the same work, yet have to bear travelling costs, and what not. You can sign documents, attract prospective clients, and be present at court rooms without much hassle.
Then again, with so many advantages, to virtual practice, there are some set of disadvantages as well. An online firm means security issues that constantly need to be checked and tackled. Day to day communication and functioning of the organization will also have to be look after. “A virtual law firm is a professional law practice that exists only through a secure portal. It is accessible to both the client and the lawyer from anywhere with an internet connection. Such law firms support the need for legal consumers to have 24/7 access to case-related information. A virtual lawyer can either own their own virtual law firm (or work at one) or work for a traditional firm primarily remotely. Whichever the case, they must have a secure portal through which they can conduct business.” (7)
Let us learn more detailly on the same with the help of this article.
What is Virtual Law Practice?
As the name suggests, “virtual” means anything that is digitally replicated version of something real, whether it’s a machine, a switch, memory or even reality. It is distinguished from the real by the fact that it lacks an absolute, physical form.” As such most legal services will take place online or virtually, which makes it a virtual legal practice.
Online legal services have skyrocketed since the pandemic began and will continue to gain recognition in the years to come. Many court hearings have taken place online and continues to do so even to this day. This ensures greater time management, no extra cost charges for travelling all the way to hear or present your case. In addition to this, online legal services assists prospective clients in providing abundance of legal assistance and guidance. Guess what? It is also affordable, convenient, and available at your fingertips! Clients will also be receiving qualitative legal information from licensed lawyers/advocates.
“A virtual lawyer is a legal professional who aims to provide legal help to their clients online and across the whole globe. By eliminating the extra time covered in meeting clients personally, a lot many lawyers can now manage multiple clients virtually with no extra effort.
For a lawyer turning into an online legal assistant, practice is a challenge. Rising competition and increasing demand have induced these professionals to shift towards the new digital phase of work and help their clients from anywhere.”
Who is a Virtual Lawyer? “A virtual lawyer’s secure client portal must be secure, encrypted, and username/password dependent. This secure client portal is where clients and lawyers collaborate, share documents, and exchange data. A virtual lawyer can own their own virtual law firm or work for a firm primarily remotely. Virtual lawyers must have a secure client portal to meet the eLawyering Task Force of the ABA’s concept of a virtual law firm. While the concepts sound similar, there’s a difference between occasionally working remotely as a lawyer and being a virtual lawyer. The key difference is how a law firm connects with clients online.”
Naturally, online legal practices provide many advantages, as stated above. However, certain aspects need to be noted down. While you need to be aware of all the aspects about setting up a business, it is the same when you open a virtual law firm and need to know about all the nitty gritty surrounding it.
While it is important to have a secure internet connection. To be successful as a virtual lawyer, you must be well prepared, and plan accordingly and cleverly execute it.
“The purpose of the eLawyering Task Force minimum requirements is to provide guidance to attorneys who wish to deliver legal services online on how to comply with the professional rules of conduct that govern law practice in each U.S. state. Conducting business through a log-in portal is different from conducting business over email, as the log-in portal is required to be secure and must adhere to strict regulations and standards. A completely virtual law office will conduct all business online, while some small practices choose to integrate a VLO log-in portal to provide more options to their clients. A Virtual Law Office, or VLO, is an online law practice that exists through a secure log-in portal and can be accessed by both client and attorney anywhere an internet connection is available. In contrast to a traditional law practice, a VLO allows attorneys and clients to communicate securely over the internet, download or upload documents, and conduct other business normally conducted face-to-face over the internet.
The features offered by a virtual law office depend on the particular vendor, but basic features centre around a web-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) application that stores documents as part of a cloud computing system. By storing documents and information on an external server and allowing log-in through a secure, encrypted portal, documents can be accessed and shared by client and attorney. By 2014, there are at least 15 virtual law firms in the United States with more than 5 members and more in Britain.”
STEPS INVOLVED IN BECOMING A VIRTUAL LAWYER
- Identify a law firm model – on how you will deliver legal services,
- Identify clients,
- Recruit personnel,
- Form plan on how you will set up and manage the virtual law firm,
- Know all legal rules and of your jurisdiction: “For example, certain states require lawyers to have physical office space. In these cases, you must have a physical office presence and are not allowed to be an entirely virtual lawyer. Check the requirements for your jurisdiction and follow the rules for your area. Additionally, it’s your duty as a lawyer to protect your clients’ data and maintain client confidentiality. As a virtual lawyer, more of your communications occur online instead of in person. That’s why it’s especially critical that your law firm data is secure, and all channels are encrypted.”
- Making use of latest technology is crucial,
- Have a marketing strategy at hand!
“If you already have a traditional law practice, don’t worry about immediately going virtual all at once. You can create a plan to start with a hybrid in-person and virtual model. For example, you could have employees work four days a week in the office and one day remotely. Then, you can gradually increase the ratio of in-person-to-remote days as you transition.” 
Virtual law practice is not one of its kind. The one thing that kept most businesses, law firms, MNC’s or judiciary mechanism running was the new way of using technology. Technology was the only way we could communicate with each other and also naturally run our businesses. Technology is one such invention that will forever stay with us. Use of the same in an efficient manner can benefit you in ways, you have no idea. Many companies sell and buy products through platforms like Facebook and Instagram, which ensures a wider reach to your targeted audience.
There have been many judicial pronouncements that state that no AI will ever and can replace a lawyer or a Judge. So, the big question is: As lawyers how can we use technology in our favor? Virtual practices have transformed the legal industry. It is our current reality. One common thing law and society share is that they both are ever-changing and as such it is important that we adapt to our changing surroundings. Technology at that is something one can always rely on and accordingly is convenient.
It is also important that as a law firm or a solo legal practitioner one rely on virtual legal practices. It is important that corporate entities welcome the contemporary version of providing legal services in order to also remain in the international competition. As such, you can build a lucrative and rewarding legal profession.
 What is virtual and how does it work? (techtarget.com)  Virtual Lawyer - What is it & How to Become One | MatterSuite  How to Become a Virtual Lawyer: A Complete Guide | Clio  Virtual law firm - Wikipedia  How to Become a Virtual Lawyer: A Complete Guide | Clio  Ibid 6.  How to Start an Online Law Firm? (lawctopus.com)
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