How to Hire and Manage a Legal Virtual Assistant (2021 Ultimate Guide)

legal virtual assistant

Looking for a legal virtual assistant?

Many law firms spend most of their time on administrative tasks like researching and documenting client cases.

But that isn’t all they have to do.

They also need to pitch and follow up with prospective clients, negotiate settlements outside court, manage their law office, and more.

However, hiring a full-time assistant is expensive, especially for a small business firm,.

So, why not hire a legal virtual assistant? 

Not only do they have the necessary skills to manage legal tasks, they usually charge by the hour – which makes them a cost-effective solution.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about legal virtual assistants and how you can manage them effectively.

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Let’s get started.

What is a Legal Virtual Assistant?

A virtual legal assistant is a skilled professional who works for you or your law firm from anywhere in the world. 

They offer a variety of services, like:

But why should you hire them?

Routine work such as managing paperwork, responding to phone calls and messages, etc., can leave law professionals with little to no time to focus and grow their own firm or company.

But don’t worry! 

Here’s where a legal virtual assistant can step in.

They can take care of these mundane and repetitive tasks while you can focus on the core tasks of growing your business and gaining more clients!

3 Key Benefits of Hiring a Legal Virtual Assistant

Let’s quickly look at the key benefits of hiring a legal virtual assistant:

1. Lower Business Costs

Outsourcing tasks to a virtual assistant means you save costs that go into maintaining on-site employees like:

  • Office equipment and infrastructure costs.
  • Real estate costs for a physical office space.
  • Overhead expenses like insurance.
  • Travel costs of commuting to the office, etc.

Also, paying a top-notch remote legal assistant is usually less expensive than paying a full-time employee.

How? 

Most legal assistants charge hourly rates for the task, so you only need to pay for the work they do. 

Additionally, lawyers from New York, for example, can hire employees from developing countries like India, where the cost of living is low. 

These employers can get a lower exchange rate, which allows them to pay their virtual assistants well.

2. Boost Productivity

Law firms need to perform a variety of labor-intensive and time-consuming tasks, such as:

  • Research and documentation
  • Contract reviews and management
  • Data entry and accounting
  • Lead tracking and follow-ups with a potential client, etc.

While these tasks are inevitable, they can all be managed virtually.

Doing these tasks yourself or involving your in-house team wouldn’t seem like a big deal. But it takes away valuable time and exhausts resources that you could invest on more important tasks that actually need your input, such as:

  • Understanding client cases. 
  • Hearing witnesses.
  • Preparing arguments.
  • Attending trials, etc.

How does a legal virtual assistant help?

As legal assistants have relevant job experience, they can work on tasks without too much assistance. 

They can also use legal tech tools like Clio, Casetext, etc., to automate tasks, minimize paperwork, and eliminate redundancies without you having to get these resources for them. 

This will help you streamline your day-to-day tasks and free up your full-time staff members to focus on core business activities.

3. Avoid Training and Hiring

Hiring is time-consuming and expensive, especially for a small law firm.

With a virtual legal assistant, you can have the same privacy, accountability, and security that come with an in-house employee.  

How?

Most legal virtual assistants are experts in the legal field, so they require little to no training. 

You can also delegate jobs based on their expertise so that they can zip by their tasks in no time!

4. Find Better Work-Life Balance

Legal professionals often live a busy life with long and exhausting workdays.

Constant phone calls, emails, and messages can make it very difficult for you to take time out for yourself.

How does a virtual assistant help here?

Virtual assistants can take care of tasks like answering emails and scheduling appointments and give you more free time.

You can use this time to attend to personal tasks and focus on interpersonal commitments – which helps maintain a healthy work-life balance.

What Tasks can Legal Virtual Assistants Do?

paralegal work

Now that you know what legal virtual assistants are and the advantages of working with them, let’s look at how they can help you:

1. Paralegal Work

Hiring a virtual paralegal assistant can be a boon for your legal firm. 

How?

Virtual paralegals perform substantive legal work for any attorney that may include tasks to:

  • Review and organize client files.
  • Conduct factual and legal research.
  • Prepare documents for legal transactions.
  • Draft pleadings and discovery notices.
  • Do administration work like responding to new clients, calendar management, etc. 
  • Assist at closing trials, etc.

These tasks are tedious and don’t relate to the core work of legal practice. 

A paralegal virtual assistant can take these tasks off your shoulders so that you can focus on tasks, such as:

  • Representing clients in court.
  • Conducting depositions.
  • Giving legal advice.
  • Signing pleadings, etc.

2. Legal Transcription and Digitization 

An attorney usually records court proceedings and depositions and interviews with clients, witnesses, and other individuals pertinent to the case.

Law firms usually hire courtside reporters to record hearings and transcribe them from audio to text. 

However, the audio quality is often not good. And when there are multiple speakers and background noise, transcription can take up a lot of the attorney’s valuable time.

But that’s not all.

Transcriptions also need to be available on time and have to be done efficiently.

A virtual assistant can help you transcribe and digitize all your documents even on a short notice.

3. Data Entry and Bookkeeping

As per the legal industry requirements, lawyers have to maintain several standard reports and documents for every case. 

You also need to create these copies to bill clients accurately at every step of the legal process.

How can a virtual assistant help?

Using virtual legal assistant services, you can outsource tasks that include: 

  • Data entry in the required legal format.
  • Updating documents for seamless processing at every step.
  • Organizing finances for accurate bookkeeping.
  • Managing client files and billing them accurately. 

How to Hire a Legal Virtual Assistant?

Now that you know what legal virtual assistants can do for you, how do you find one?

Well, there are two common ways to hire virtual assistants:

1. Through Virtual Assistant Agencies

If you have never worked with a virtual assistant before, virtual assistant agencies are the perfect solution for your business.

Hiring from a virtual assistant agency gives you several benefits like:

  • Experienced and tested virtual assistants to hire.
  • Billing by the hour or on a project-by-project basis depending on your requirements.
  • Customer support in case of any issues.
  • Changing a specific virtual assistant service if it isn’t the right fit for you, etc.

There are many legal virtual agencies where you can avail the services of a legal professional or a personal assistant. 

Some of them include:

A. Answering Legal

answering legal

Answering Legal is an agency known for providing a virtual legal secretary to attorneys or law firms.

They provide you with a 24-hour live virtual receptionist that can perform secretarial duties and tasks, such as: 

  • Client intake services
  • Live call transferring
  • Scheduling consultations
  • Taking messages and responding to emails, etc. 

B. Equivity

equivity

Equivity provides a legal secretary and virtual paralegal to manage the fluctuating needs of your in-house legal team or law firm.  

Their legal professionals have experience in: 

  • Litigation 
  • Family law
  • Bankruptcy
  • Personal injury
  • Criminal law
  • Estate planning
  • Immigration, and much more.  

With flexible plans, you can get a VA for the number of hours you need. Additionally, you can scale up depending on how busy your legal practice is.

C. Virtual Employee

virtual employee

Virtual employee is a virtual assistant company with a strong legal team that has a broad skill set. 

They provide legal assistance for healthcare, corporate practices, real estate, bankruptcy, family law, litigation, etc.

Additionally, they offer quick services that include dedicated legal assistants exclusively for specific clients.

2. Hire an Individual Virtual Assistant

Individual virtual assistants are a better choice for business owners who have experience with legal assistance services in the past.

Why?

You need to know what you’re looking for in a virtual assistant before hiring an independent contractor.

Freelancing sites also don’t usually provide replacement guarantees if things don’t work out with your virtual assistant.

Here’s where you can hire freelance legal virtual assistants:

1. Upwork

upwork

Upwork is one of the best freelance marketplaces. Apart from a legal VA, you can find plenty of other specialists, including legal writers for your cases and social media experts that can help you build your online brand. 

2. Fiverr

fiverr

Fiverr is a task-based freelance network that works best for short-term projects and one-time jobs. 

They offer several services of virtual assistance, including industry-specific paralegal virtual assistants and expert attorneys. 

Like Upwork, you can also find freelancers for tasks like social media management, legal research, etc.

How to Manage a Legal Virtual Assistant?

Since virtual assistants work remotely, they can reduce your expenses significantly. 

However, working in a virtual environment means that it will be harder for you to:

  • Monitor their work.
  • Track their performance.
  • Communicate efficiently.

So how do you manage a virtual assistant?

Here are a few remote work tools that will you help you do just that:

1. Communication Tools

Communication tools are essential for attorneys to communicate with their legal assistant about the work that needs to be done. 

Let’s take a look at the different type of communication tools:

A. Instant Messaging Tools

Instant messaging tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams will allow you to send quick messages and legal files to your virtual assistant and let them respond in real-time. 

These tools come with features, such as:

  • Searchable message history.
  • Categorized group conversations.
  • Document storage and sharing.

B. Video Conferencing Tools

Video conferencing tools like Zoom and Skype will help you synchronize virtual meetings with your virtual assistant.

Further, these tools can help you:

  • Have HD audio and video calls.
  • Share your screen to show your VA how to do a task.
  • Record communication.
  • Use and save video transcriptions for future use, etc.

2. Employee Monitoring Tools

Attorneys are constantly worried about whether virtual assistants are working or not, and if they’re being billed appropriately.

The biggest challenge with legal virtual assistants is tracking their work progress and ensuring that they stay productive for their billable hours.

However, productivity management tools like Time Doctor make that process a piece of cake.

Used by big corporations like Verizon as well as small and medium enterprises like Thrive Market, Time Doctor can help you:

time doctor

Want to know more about virtual software? Check out our comprehensive list of remote tools for 2021!

Wrapping Up

Due to fluctuating caseloads, long hours, and a competitive market, managing your own law practice can be overwhelming at times. 

You’ll need some administrative support to lighten your heavy workload.

Working with legal virtual assistants will allow you to delegate your daily legal admin work, cut down on overhead expenses –  so you can focus on crucial tasks.

Hiring and managing virtual assistants may seem challenging at first, but it’s not.

Just follow the tips and tools we’ve mentioned in the article, hire your legal virtual assistant, and take your business to the next level – it’s that simple!

 
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