Our focus is to assist small business owners by allowing them to work with us on their schedule. We use technology to provide comprehensive services at the client's convenience.
Every business will, at some point, need the services of a lawyer. So, how can a virtual practice best assist the small business owner?
I know several small business owners who are specifically around my age, 35 and under. These guys and gals work very hard and spend the majority of their time working to grow their businesses. Time is something in short supply for these folks. Every minute is valuable and can mean earning a dollar or losing one. These folks don't have an office full of people handling paperwork, answering the phone, taking orders, giving quotes, etc. They are the brains and the muscle of the business. Their time is precious.
A lawyer operating a virtual office, like myself, can be accessible and available to the client 24/7. The virtual practitioner can tailor his service to the client's time constraints, not the other way around. In order to assist my client, I really only need a phone, computer, internet connection and a printer. This is all the brick and mortar law offices need. We can do the same work, but the virtual office practitioner can do it without the receptionist, legal assistant, and associates.
A virtual law office also is a great conduit of efficiency for the small business owner. Imagine you are a small business owner who has a legal issue come up. You have a few free minutes, so you call your lawyer at his or her brick and mortar office. You get the receptionist, who transfers you to the attorney's legal secretary, who asks if you would like to leave a voice mail.
Now imagine you call your attorney who operates a virtual office, and he answers the phone. Or if you're really strapped for time you email him a quick note when you have a second, he gets it and can immediately respond or can call you when it's convenient for you, say after dinner. Or schedule to meet you at a time and place of your choosing.
You need a contract drafted. Your attorney, the one with the virtual office, communicates with you via email through a secure client portal on his web site. You get him the information he needs when you have time and he prepares the contract and makes it available for you in your personal account to retrieve at your convenience. He also invoices you through your account and you pay via a secure platform on the web site.
Since we just talked about efficiency, let's translate that into costs to the small business owner. Above, I described the web you may have to get through just to speak with your attorney at the brick and mortar office. Let's not forget those folks don't work for free. There's also the lease on the building, power to keep the lights on, refreshments for conferences, etc., etc. Somebody's got to cover the costs of all that. Who do you think is helping cover the costs?
A virtual law practice really has minimal overhead. Like I said above, a phone, a computer and a printer can do just about everything we need. Less overhead equals less markup. I don't think I'm giving away any trade secrets, but I guess I could bill you to take time out of your day and come in to answer questions for me so I can draft that contract I talked about above? Or I can post the questions to you in your account and you can email the answers back to me when you have time. This way will probably save both time and money? I'm just not sure? Actually, I'm positive it will save time and money, both of which the small business owner is extremely protective of.
I put this last, not because I believe it's the least important, but rather because I believe it's very important and I want you to leave this post with it fresh in your mind.
Time, efficiency, and costs savings can make up for many deficiencies, but deficient personal service can ruin the attorney-client relationship. I believe small business owners want an attorney who believes in their business as much as they do. They are empowered by a attorney who wants the business to succeed as much as they do. Personal service and attention can do wonders to ease the minds of a small business owner, especially when legal issues arise.
As stated above, having a virtual office allows the attorney to be as accessible as he wants to be for the client. If I'm asked when I'll be in my office, my response is easy: "I'm always in my office." As long as I have my phone or access to my computer, I'm available to my clients.
Please let me know if you have any questions. You can check out my virtual law office at The Law Office of Jacob T. Arthur. Feel free to call or email. Like I said, "I'm always in my office."