Jeremy Ament is anything but your typical lawyer. So not surprisingly, he doesn’t have what could be considered a typical law firm. In fact, his law practice is so different from the norm that some might call it cutting edge. That’s because he operates a virtual law firm, The Ament Law Firm, from Mexico, where he lives with his wife and children.
This wasn’t his plan when he first started practicing law after graduating from law school. In fact, he initially worked at a brick and mortar law firm for a few years and was perfectly happy with the arrangement–for a while.
Taming his inner wanderlust
“Before I went to law school, I developed a love for travel and living abroad. I just couldn’t get enough of it. But after law school, I decided to return to a more traditional lifestyle and worked for a brick and mortar law firm before eventually setting up my own law firm,” he explains. But soon enough, wanderlust kicked in and he and his wife threw caution to the wind and followed their hearts: they moved to Mexico. And they haven’t looked back since.
According to Jeremy, it was the best decision he’s ever made: “A few years into practice I started reading about virtual law firms and that they were the future of some aspects of law practice. So I did some more research and then we decided to move to Mexico—it was more of a sabbatical than anything. Our plan was to eventually move back to Arkansas or North Carolina since I’m licensed in both places. But as we got used to living abroad with kids and really enjoyed it, we decided we didn’t want to come back right away.”
Practicing law on his terms
Setting up a virtual law office while in Mexico seemed like the perfect solution. And that’s exactly what Jeremy did: “I decided that even if I came back to the states I’d still want to practice law from a virtual law firm so there was no rush to come back. So I set up a virtual law office while living in Mexico and things have been going very smoothly ever since.”
Of course, his practice is limited to certain areas given the inherent nature of a virtual law office. “It certainly limits the scope of what I do,” he admits. “I’m not able to go to court and try a divorce case or handle a traffic ticket, but I like it that way. So instead I handle transactional matters, such as estate planning, powers of attorney, living will and directives, small business formation and advising, along with some non-profit work, document review, contract drafting, and immigration work. I also do research and writing for other attorneys.”
Cloud computing makes it possible
According to Jeremy, his lifestyle wouldn’t be possible but for the convenience, flexibility and mobility provided by web-based law practice management software and a paperless virtual law office: “My goal is for everything to be maintained in digital form online and accessible 24/7 from any Internet-enabled device. That way, if my computer crashes, all of my firm’s data is still saved and available online.”
Although his virtual law firm isn’t the norm, Jeremy explains that in many ways, it’s no different than a brick and mortar law practice–and in some ways it’s even better for his clients. “Sure I live in Mexico, but truthfully my practice isn’t all that different from when I sat in a physical law office for five years. Most days I never saw the clients and we’d communicate by phone and email,” he says. “Now, I do the exact same thing but it’s the little differences that make it more convenient for me and my clients to do it this way. They don’t have to come into the office to bring me documents and I’ve had video or phone consultations at 9 p.m. because people are at work and it’s easier for them to meet after work.”
MyCase: the best choice
Before setting up his virtual law firm, Jeremy carefully researched his options. “I tried Clio, but their billing just wasn’t intuitive enough. That was a deal breaker for me. I simply couldn’t afford to spend too much time getting my invoices out. I also tried Total Attorneys and it wasn’t as bad, but then they ended their document storage feature and that took them out of the running,” he explains. “Right about then I read about MyCase and it sounded perfect. So I tried it and I really liked the intuitive interface. And, the ease of billing is fantastic! It was the perfect fit.”
And, according to Jeremy, the price was right: “Another selling point of MyCase was its affordability. Not only is it so easy to use, it’s very affordable. The others were too expensive or lacked necessary features. As a solo starting a new type of practice, that’s an important consideration. The costs add up quickly.”
When I asked Jeremy how he’d like to be remembered, his response perfectly summed up his unique persona and outlook on life: “I’d like to be remembered as someone who practiced law but it didn’t let it define him–as someone who lived the way he wanted to and did his best to give his kids as many opportunities as possible. And as someone who liked to explore different cultures, countries, and people and really enjoyed the journey of life.”