The Virtual Law Firm: How to Practice Law Online
Updated August, 4th 2016
What is a Virtual Law Firm?
A virtual law firm is professional law practice that exists online through a secure portal and is accessible to both the client and the lawyer anywhere the parties may access the Internet.
That’s how author Stephanie Kimbro defines a virtual law firm in her book Virtual Law Practice: How to Deliver Legal Services Online. And in our legal webinar, we learned all about delivering legal services online via virtual law firms from Attorney Kimbro, the foremost authority on the topic and author of four books.
According to the 2014 ABA Legal Technology Survey Report, solely virtual law firms are maintained by 7% of lawyers in 2014. So even though only a small percentage of lawyers have 100% virtual law firms, many offer features typically associated with virtual law practices, such as client portals and online web-based communication with their clients. This is because 21st century legal consumers expect to have 24/7 access to case-related information.
According to the survey results, when it comes to client portals, 22% of lawyers overall reported using them, with those in firms of more than 100 attorneys or more being the most likely to use them (57%). Of those who use portals, MyCase’s portal is in the top three. Here’s the breakdown of portals used by respondents:
- In-house/custom solution – 10%
- Sharepoint – 12%
- MyCase – 6%
- NetDocuments – 5%
- Clio Connect – 4%
- Box – 2%
Lawyers are also using their legal websites and client portals to communicate and interact with clients:
- Offer Document Sharing – 26%
- Offer Messaging or Communication – 20%
- Allow Invoicing and Bill Payment – 17%
- Permit Calendar Access – 14%
- Provide Case Updates – 13%
- Offer Real-time Client Consultations for Clients – 6%
- Include the Ability to Prepare Documents Using Fillable Forms – 5%
If you’re not already offering these types of services online, why not get started?
Running a virtual law firm isn’t just about making life easier for you as an attorney. A true virtual law office makes managing a law practice easier by giving clients and attorneys more options, and more tools, in more places.
Don’t forget to get your free access to Steph Kimbro’s eBook on virtual law offices, “Practicing Law Online.”