Strategist - The FindLaw Law Firm Business Blog

You Have a Virtual Practice and Didn't Even Know It

Every lawyer has a website, whether they know it or not.

From the State Bar to LinkedIn, your information is already on the internet for consumers to find. And when you use a web-enabled device to research, send information, download a document or file a pleading, you are effectively practicing law online.

You have a virtual law practice; you just didn't know it. It's really a matter of how much you use it.

Reality of Virtual Practice

While some attorneys are suspicious about working in the cloud, according to Above the Law, it may surprise them that "they are already there."

It comes down to cost and convenience, writes Brian Dalton. Technologies typically precede practice changes, as lawyers learn the benefits of virtual law practice.

"Currently, the ongoing cost of ownership for a virtual system is much lower than a physical one -- with no need for repair, replacement or upgrades," he says. "The convenience of access and updates that virtual systems afford law firms have no physical parallel. "

While virtually every lawyer uses the internet in some way, tech savvy lawyers use more of it. That includes storing information, transmitting information and using programs in the cloud.

Tech Savvy Lawyers

Solos and small firms have adapted to virtual law practices, perhaps more easily than behemoth law firms. But that is changing.

According to the American Lawyer, virtual firms with up to 180 partners are breaking the mold of traditional law firms. The technology is attracting BigLaw attorneys because they like the idea of practicing from home, too.

"Here, I can really work on matters pretty much at any level I choose to without it becoming cost prohibitive," said Jamal Edwards, who used to work at the 300-lawyer firm of Honigman Miller in Detroit.

It's a myth that real lawyers have physical offices. These days, an attorney needs basically a computer and a phone to file a complaint, serve discovery, and appear in court. A car, or an Uber app, also helps.

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