PARALEGAL SERVICESKnow Everything About Working with Virtual Paralegals

July 28, 20210

If you have not hired a virtual paralegal before, you may be wondering, why should you work with one? Well, if you are doing absolutely everything yourself and overwhelmed with the sheer amount of work, hiring a paralegal can free your time.

The demand for virtual paralegals seems to be a critical development for the legal industry. More and more solo lawyers today are more inclined towards outsourcing work to virtual paralegal services. It is because of the great amount of help they get at affordable rates.

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However, most of them are still confused about the whole virtual setting. If you are someone who needs help managing the caseload but doesn’t feel ready yet to hire someone full-time, this article is for you.

When Do You Know You Need a Virtual Paralegal?

There are times when attorneys are unable to decide whether they need someone to help or not. Or, how much help do they need?

We have listed down a few signs for you to tell that you need a virtual paralegal.

1. Multitasking

If you are doing everything by yourself, you might not get enough time and be able to give your best to grow your firm. For instance, if you are handling inquiries, arranging meetings, signing up clients, preparing files, drafting applications, etc., you are definitely bogged down with a lot of unnecessary work. Many tasks can be done by a virtual paralegal who charges much less than your normal billables.

2. Poor Client Relationship – Losing Clients

If you are so overwhelmed with work that it is difficult to maintain a relationship with clients, you certainly need a virtual paralegal. Adequate client support goes hand in hand with the growth of a law firm. If you don’t focus on retaining your clients, your business is going to suffer.

3. Stagnant Growth

Every lawyer wants their firm and practice to grow over time. However, if you are one of those who are unable to boost the growth of your firm, something is backing you down. Maybe the administrative tasks are keeping you so busy that you cannot give time to grow your practice or bring more clients.

4. Lower efficiency

Are you one of those attorneys who are spending all day working but still not getting the desired results? Your office is still cluttered, and your revenues are static. This is a clear sign you need extra pairs of hands to free up your time; try using virtual paralegal services.

What is a Virtual Paralegal?

A remote legal assistant or a virtual paralegal is adept at taking care of a wide range of routine tasks. This includes managing communication with clients, scheduling appointments, legal researching, document gathering, preparing legal documents, and much more. Virtual paralegals work remotely but under the direct supervision of the attorney. They are the best solution for small firms and solo practitioners as they need not be paid like an in-house employee. You can hire virtual paralegals hourly, weekly, or project basis as per your requirements.

Tips When Hiring a Virtual Paralegal

Finding a virtual paralegal who fits your work style is critical. When you are managing everything for your firm, you might find it difficult to delegate tasks. The whole thing boils down to a good hiring process. Whether you are outsourcing virtual paralegal services or hiring individuals, you should consider the below tips.

1. Check Credentials

Checking a virtual paralegal’s education, background, experience, and affiliation with professional associations ensures that they are qualified to work with you. Additionally, you should thoroughly vet potential candidates and companies to narrow down your options. List down all the qualities you need in your paralegal and hire accordingly.

2. Determine Your Needs

Only when you know what tasks to delegate, you will be able to utilise your virtual paralegal services efficiently. Determine if you are looking for a paralegal available for a few hours a week to draft and file documents or for a particular project. Also, list down the tasks you would want them to do on behalf of you. It will help you in easy delegation and guide paralegals with a direction.

3. Set Clear Expectations

To avoid miscommunication and conflicts on both sides, make sure you set expectations with your virtual paralegal from the beginning. You can also have a written agreement specifying what’s expected of the professional relationship. Below are some key points to mention while setting out your expectations:

  • Communication Channel: Whether it is phone, email, or meetings, agree on the communication platforms you will use to be in touch with your virtual paralegal.
  • Law firm Workflows: Be clear about your law firm’s processes and workflows to ensure seamless integration of your virtual paralegal with the firm.
  • Management style: Every firm has a different management style. Communicate to your paralegal about your way of delegating the tasks, project management software you use, formats of reporting, etc.
  • Confidentiality: Have a confidentiality agreement ready for the paralegal to sign and protect business and client’s privileged information.

4. Be prepared to Manage Projects

Although a virtual paralegal significantly frees up your time, you should still find time to manage the projects. Especially in the beginning, when the paralegal does not know about your workflows and processes, you would require to spend time to get them acquainted with the new work environment for better long-term results.

5. Be Consistent

Law Practitioners should have consistent schedules, timelines for their day-to-day operational work. This will help virtual paralegals to stick to the schedule and get the work done. For instance, if you do legal client consultations in the morning, let your paralegal know about that. So, they do not approach you for instructions during that period. Remaining consistent in processes will help you and the paralegal to be efficient at work.

6. Give Clear Instructions

In a virtual legal environment, clear communication is the most important element for success. If you want your paralegals to be productive, give them clear and detailed instructions on how a job is to be done. Whether it is emailing clients according to your law firm’s messaging guide or interviewing them according to your law firm protocol, everything must be clearly instructed.

Hire Virtual Paralegals and Scale your Law Practice

It is evident that legal virtual paralegals can help your law firm increase efficiencies, grow more rapidly, and provide a client-centred experience. Virtual paralegals are a great option to scale your legal practice if you are not ready for a full-time in-house paralegal. If you are still not sure whether you need one or not, reach out to us for a Free Consultation.

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