Carolynn | Jul 5, 2018 | 0
Virtual Legal Assistant – How Law Firms Can Benefit From A Remote Assistant
A law firm is one of the busiest offices with different activities going on at the same time. There is a need for flexible, hard working and dedicated team with the ability to work long hours in a law firm. There are tasks that need speciality as well as ordinally office work like record keeping and personal assistance in the firm. To help you manage and become more productive on your law practices you need a professional help of a Virtual Legal Assistant.
A Virtual Legal Assistant is someone who can be hired remotely to work for a lawyer in various departments. A Virtual Assistant ensures the office is in order and every task that has been assigned to them has been done accordingly. Hiring a Virtual Assistant will help you deliver quality. A Virtual Assistant brings extra expertise in your firm at a reduced cost.
How do you benefit from hiring a Virtual Legal Assistant?
Saving you money
Hiring a Virtual Legal Assistant can help your firm save money. You will save the costs of recruitment, preparing payrolls, employee benefits and insurances covers and the general workers’ compensation that you will have to cater for as an employer.
You can hire a Virtual Legal Assistant on an hourly basis and pay for only the hours worked. You can also hire on a project bases where you will pay per the amount of job done. Either way, you will save a lot of money with a Virtual Assistant since you are paying for the job completed.
The best thing about hiring a Virtual Assistant is that you can have a flexible plan where you hire when you need assistant which help you to save money.
Giving you peace of mind
A law firm is very busy with a lot of deadlines to meet which makes people work long hours. To avoid suffering from burn-outs, you will need a help of Virtual Legal Assistant. If you are practising solo or as a partnership, there is a lot to be done in the firm. You will have peace of mind when you have a skilled personnel who you can rely on by delegating some work. This will help you concentrate on your main duty stress-free.
You won’t have to carry work at home which helps you to have quality time with your family. You will also be able to attend to your personal life and do your passion without having to worry about the office work. This will also promote your health being.
Providing a top-notch customer experience
Hiring a skilled Virtual Legal Assistant can help you deliver top-notch customer experience to your clients. A Virtual Legal Assistant can help you to deliver your promises on time. Having someone to manage your clients’ case files help to ensure that none of your clients can be forgotten which is likely to happen in a law firm.
A Virtual Assistant is trained to handle their job professionally. Be it picking calls or keeping records, your office will be one step ahead of others due to professionalism portrayed by your VA.
Saving you time
Hiring a Virtual Legal Assistant will help you save time. A Virtual Legal Assistant is someone with basic legal skills and is able to know all activities and processes that are done in a law firm. This helps him to ensure everything is in order and schedule appointments.
Consequently, you will have enough time to deal with your legal practices and deliver quality to your client. You will be able to attend other important activities on your schedule without worrying about undone duties. Making time for your family is important, life is not only about looking for money, no! There is more to it.
Jobs that can be outsourced to a Virtual Legal Assistant
The most ideal Virtual Legal Assistant is a person with a basic knowledge of law firm activities. There are many jobs that can be done by a Virtual Legal Assistant in a legal setup. These include
- Opening new files for new clients
- Following and recording the proceedings. This can be done remotely by recording proceeding in a tape and having Virtual Legal Assistant transcribe and keep them in text form.
- Updating claim status of clients.
- Managing hearings and reminding staffs about the oncoming activities they need to attend.
- Managing diaries for a busy lawyer.
- Filing claim forms with insurance companies and following up for compensations.
- Answering calls and booking appointments with the clients.
- Preparing exhibits
- Preparing pleadings
- Trial preparation
- Managing case files
- Preparing correspondence
- Persona assistant
- Billing and invoicing
- Litigation calendar management
- Travel booking
- Administration and secretarial works
- Database management
- Prepare corporate governance documents for the firm
Qualities of a Virtual Legal Assistant
- A qualified Virtual Legal Assistant should have basic knowledge of the legal skill.
- He should be a person with a high degree of confidentiality and can be trusted with client’s information.
- He should be available during the firm’s working hours as some of the activities need real-time responses.
- He should be flexible and can work long hours
- He should have a high degree of accountability and security assurance for the firm’s systems.
- He should have high typing speed and should be proficient in the legal language.
- He should have good communication and phone etiquette skills.
- He should have a high degree of customer service.
How to work together with a Virtual Legal Assistant
Creating a conducive working environment for you and the Virtual Legal Assistant helps to improve your working relationship. There are many activities you can do to promote a good collaboration between you and your VA. These activities are grouped in the following categories
- Contract creation
- Time tracking
- Project management
Communication is key to a better working environment. Make your Virtual Legal Assistant understand the communication channels in your firm. You can have a short video call meeting each morning to plan the day’s task and discuss previous days pending items and have an open session for questions. Also prepare an email each evening before closing hour, about what was accomplished during and what is still pending. This will bring out accountability from each VA.
Have your VAs sign a non-disclosure agreement before they embark on duties. Also, ensure your VA has signed the working contract to mark a legal working relationship. A contract will clearly provide the firm’s policies and procedures that need to be followed by your Virtual Assistant. Indicate your business rules, clear procedure on how to submit the work and provide a clear channel of communication. Let them understand the communication channels for your company. Communication is what makes or breaks a company.
Project management and collaboration
You want to manage your projects in a manner that is understood by both of you. Your project management will determine how successful your project will be at the end of the day. You want to schedule and assign what work to be done by who, until when, and how it should be done.
This will need you to set a centralized software in which you will collaborate with your VAs to ensure work is done professionally. You need to ensure you don’t compromise on the security of your data and document even as you hire a Virtual Legal Assistant. Ensure sensitive documents are assigned to authorised people only.
Time tracking is important when you hire a Virtual Assistant. Ensure you have communicated the importance of spending quality time with your VA to ensure he delivers quality all the time. Time tracking helps both of you to agree on payments and ensure you pay for quality projects.
Since you need to account for the job done by your virtual assistant, ensure you have agreed on the right time for the payments. Also, the right payment system that is accessible and conducive for both of you to transfer the payments.
What does a Virtual Legal Assistant cost
The cost of hiring a professional Virtual Legal Assistant varies very widely with the kind of job assigned to them. Not forgetting that a Virtual Legal Assistant does not necessarily need to be a legal professional. According to Glassdoor, in the US, the average cost of hiring a Virtual Assistant is $22,000 per year; again, the cost depends on the hours spent and the speciality of the Virtual Assistant.
Women are the majority Virtual Assistants in the US. On the average, they are paid $15.57 in an hour. A rare skill will definitely cost you more. You also have an option of shopping for an ideal Virtual Assistant on various websites to suit your budget. Virtual Assistants are reported to have the highest job satisfaction and they enjoy working as VAs.
Where to find qualified Virtual Legal Assistants
The Virtual Legal Assistant job is a job that needs legal skills. It might be difficult to get qualified assistants due to the rare skills. However, there are companies that specialize in providing quality Virtual Legal Assistants in the market, they include
ZipRecruiter is a freelance website that provides Virtual Assistant jobs. They strictly vet their Virtual Assistants on board with various professionals. They post jobs and freelance Virtual Assistant bid on them. They are then paid after the job has been approved by the client.
Zirtual is a US-based online company that specializes in providing Virtual Assistants. They recruit various professionals and employ them on permanent bases. They act as a medium between the client and the Virtual Assistant. Zirtual provides working stations for their Virtual Assistant and assigns jobs as are posted by the clients. They are only accepting US based applicants at the moment.
TimeEtc is a UK- and the US-based virtual assistant company that helps to provide jobs for potential virtual assistants. They only allow U.S and U.K citizens as members.
Worldwide101 is an international premium Virtual Assistant company that has clients and assistants in North America and some parts of Europe. When you post a job request with them, they try to match you with the most qualified Virtual Assistant for your job.
Fancy Hand is a US-based team of a Virtual Assistant that offers virtual assistance all over the world. They have ready assistants waiting for a job. As a client, you will have to put down your order and the order is assigned to the available Virtual Assistant.
The best tools and software when you’re hiring a VA
To be able to work well with your VA, you will need to have tools and software that will make your work easier. There are several activities that are done in a law firm that need to be monitored. Having more than one Virtual Assistant can be difficult to manage them and track the amount of work done.
The Virtual Legal Assistant management can be enhanced by the following tools which are grouped in the following categories. The choice of a tool will depend on the number of VAs you have and the project that is to be done.
- Collaboration tools
- Contract signing tools
- Project management tools
- Time tracking tools
- Online meeting tools
- Feedback tools
Collaboration and communication
Scoro is a tool that can help you manage your projects and your team of Virtual Assistants. You can prepare the files and share them with your VAs and then monitor what each Virtual Assistant is doing. Scoro allows you to prepare your budget and compare it with the actual outcome. This will help you make a better option in regard to your project assignments. You will be able to schedule and assign work according to your VAs capability because you can be able to track their performance.
Scoro comes in three plans which you can choose depending on your budget. Plus plan goes for $22/mo, premium plan for $33/mo and ultimate plan for $55/mo. You will enjoy free news feeds for each plan you chose.
Slack is an app that enables people to communicate through messages. It is a real-time messaging service which allows you to send documents, spreadsheets, graphics and even pdf files. You will get instant notifications when your VA make comments and be able to answer in real-time. This will ensure the smooth flow of work in your firm.
Hellosign is a free tool that is easy to use that enables you and your team to sign documents. In a law firm, there is need to make everyone accountable for the job he does. You will be needed to log in as a user, prepare and sign a document that needs signing then you can send it to at most 20 recipients to sign the same document. You will be notified when each one sign. You can join Hellosign for free with your Google account.
Docusign is another contract signing tool that lets you prepare a document and share it with your VAs to sign. Unlike Hellosign, Docusign is not free you will have to pay $10/mo to access it. It is easy to use Docusign is available as a mobile app and can be accessed easily by the users.
Trello is an excellent software that allows you to manage your projects. You can arrange your projects as in progress, completed and pending projects and be able to monitor the flow of work done by your Vas. You can communicate promptly with your team with Trello which allows you to review submitted job and leave a comment on one page.
You can create a free ASANA account and start managing your projects. It is easy to collaborate with your VA using ASANA as it is user-friendly. If you are budget constrained, then ASANA is the answer to your problem. You will be able to track the projects you have assigned different Virtual Assistants.
It is an excellent communication tool that can be used for meetings. You are able to schedule video conference meeting with your Virtual Assistants any time using ezTalks cloud meeting. You can sign in for a start-up package free of charge where you can upgrade to a professional package for $12.99/mo. The benefit of ezTalks is access to unlimited meetings even with a start-up package.
Join.me is a tool that can be used to hold a meeting with your Virtual Assistants. The best thing with join.me is that you can download the app in your mobile gadget for ease of access. You can customize your join.me page to help those people who could be joining the meeting later identify you easily.
You can use Weekdone to monitor and collect the feedback from your Virtual Assistants. Weekdone allows employees to fill out their work-to-do lost on a sheet, work accomplished and the problem encountered in the process of working for ease of tracking.
You will be able to know who is doing which projects and how they liked doing it so you can be able to schedule as per the preferences. Weekdone works well with Asana, and Basecamp systems by allowing you to analyze the progress of each project individually.
When you have hired a Virtual Assistant, you will need to track the number of hours done by the assistant in order to pay for the work done. Instead of trusting their job cards, an effective time tracker will ensure the payments have been done accordingly. Time-doctor is effective software that will help you to track time with your Virtual Assistants. It comes with screen monitoring and payroll management software.
You can benefit more with a Virtual Legal Assistant when you hire qualified professionals. Your work will be organized and you will be able to concentrate on core operations of your law firm. This will help you become more productive and to love what you do.
A Virtual Legal Assistant will help a lawyer to manage some of it’s office duties with ease. There are many activities in a law firm which can be overwhelming if left to be done by one person. Hiring several staffs on a permanent base will increase the cost to your firm. A Virtual Assistant is an excellent option to delegate duties in a law firm, at an affordable price.