The Benefits and Drawbacks
Being an attorney often means working long hours on legal research and writing and reviewing documents for clients. Grueling demands from partners and clients mean a lawyer is often juggling expectations. For a small law firm or solo practitioner, adding in the management of the firm and day-to-day clerical tasks can prove overwhelming and unmanageable.
You’re not alone if you find that there aren’t enough hours to get it all done or that the budget just isn’t there to afford new in-house staff. Don’t be discouraged when facing these common problems. Instead, learn how to more affordably delegate tasks so you can focus more on important and intricate legal work.
Virtual assistants and chatbots can relieve you of burdensome and redundant administrative tasks while providing affordable and valuable alternatives to hiring in-house staff. When you employ new online staff or resort to automated web tools, you will increase efficiency while still being mindful of expenses.
Virtual assistants perform clerical tasks and provide administrative office support for your law-practice online. Tasks you would normally delegate to a receptionist or personal assistant can be efficiently handled offsite. Tasks include:
- Answering phone calls
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Sending out appointment reminders
- Client intake
- Bookkeeping and accounting
- Email management
- Payment collection with billing software integration
- Legal research
- Website setup and management
- Social media management
The Benefits of Using Virtual Assistants
Although you won’t have someone working with you in the office, employing someone online brings a host of benefits that make it a more appealing option than hiring new in-house staff:
- Virtual assistants may be more affordable than in-house staff.
- You can negotiate more flexible hours with online workers, allowing you to serve more prospects and clients more effectively and efficiently.
- The online hiring process lets you cast a wider net to find more suitable employees for your law firm.
- It’s easier to find helpers that can meet more specific needs. For instance, if you need service in another language, it’s easier to find assistants that speak Spanish or Chinese online than it is to advertise and search locally.
- You can selectively delegate and pay for individual tasks instead of paying hourly wages. This makes your workflow more efficient and saves you money.
The Drawbacks of Using Virtual Assistants
Although virtual assistants are flexible, more affordable, and often better suited for niche needs, there are some potential drawbacks to note before committing to their services:
- Virtual assistants rely heavily on newer software tools and mobile technology such as Google Calendar or Drive. If you aren’t completely sold on mobile technology or don’t have the time getting up to speed, consider in-house alternatives.
- Client confidentiality might be at risk. Make sure you have a strong confidentiality agreement with your chosen virtual assistant company and be aware of protocol if there is an unintentional breach of confidentiality. You’ll want to know how the company collects and secures data: ask about its security infrastructure, including firewalls, anti-malware software, and data encryption method.
- If you’ve never collaborated online before, there will be an adjustment period with growing pains and road bumps.
- It will take time before you find a suitable virtual assistant. There are many candidates to choose from online, so you’ll have to set aside plenty of time to identify the tasks you want to delegate and research available options.
You don’t have to feel overwhelmed when you look at the tasks you have to complete. Virtual assistants can provide affordable, flexible, and efficient ways of delegating important but repetitive tasks that take you away from more pressing legal matters. Although it will take time to find the right option and adjust, remember that these services exist to make your job easier.